BUSINESSES and farmers may be resilient but the impact of the drought cannot be overstated, Western NSW Business Chamber regional manager Vicki Seccombe says.
Currently 98.4 per cent of NSW is in drought or drought affected, data from the NSW Department of Primary Industries shows.
"It's continuing to hurt businesses and our local economies right across the region," Ms Seccombe said.
"Businesses are reporting substantial decreases in cashflow, falling sales and revenue, while operating costs are on the rise."
The latest Business Conditions Survey revealed businesses have shed staff during the past quarter.
"As the drought continues, there is a real risk that we'll start to see more jobs lost and a drop-off in the availability of certain goods and services around the region," Ms Seccombe said.
"The worst case scenario is that families are forced to leave their homes and towns in search of work elsewhere. That clearly has a devastating impact on a community."
Meanwhile, Cowra Business Chamber president Jordan Core said many farmers had little or no disposable income due to the drought and this meant they were only spending money on the bare essentials in town.
Many businesses in Cowra have now restructured and resized to reduce overheads, while others have adapted their offerings.
READ ALSO: Coota Rodeo 'will only get bigger'
"Some businesses have gone from bricks and mortar to an online presence, while some have decreased stock on hand and improved marketing strategies," Mr Core said.
While in Young, owner of Pointsbuild Michael Tomlinson said he had been in business for the past 11 years and said he can't remember things being so tough.
"There's less economic activity and less people in the streets in Young," he said. "There's restaurants and pubs shutting down."
Just 4mm of rain has fallen in Cootamundra this month, the long term October average is 45.1mm.
Love local news?
Why not subscribe, the first 30 days of full website access is free.