The first ceremonial sod of soil has been turned on a project that will be a "game-changer" for agriculture in Western NSW and give its communities and emergency services crews real-time weather data.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW Adam Marshall each grabbed a shovel at Brewarrina Airport on Thursday to mark the start of construction of a new Doppler radar.
It will be the first of three built in Western NSW at a cost of $24.5 million.
The other two will be built in the Parkes and Hillston-Ivanhoe regions.
Western NSW currently does not have radar coverage.
For more than a decade Orana region organisations campaigned for the infrastructure.
They rejoiced when funding of $24.4 million for the three-radar project was included in the June 2018 state budget.
On Thursday Mr Barilaro said the now $24.5 million commitment from the state government would remove the weather radar "blackspot" covering all of Western NSW.
"The radars will be able to detect rain drops, hail, bushfire plumes, rain intensity and wind velocity, vastly improving real-time weather services for the community," he said.
"The radars will boost business efficiency by providing rainfall data as well as wind observations to regional communities and primary producers, arming them with critical information to base farm management decisions on.
"They will also protect lives, and help reduce damage from fires and floods by providing improved, vital information to emergency services."
Mr Marshall foresees farmers being able to make better and more timely on-farm decisions.
"These radars will be a game-changer for agriculture in Western NSW, providing greater accuracy in measuring where water particles are in the sky, how fast they are moving and the potential power of an incoming storm," he said.
"Experts will be able to pass on vital weather observations from up to 200 kilometres away, including towns as far as Cobar, Pilliga and over the Queensland border.
"Rain is the lifeblood of farming communities out west, so by giving them crucial data sooner, local producers will be able to make more informed decisions to improve crop yields and lower their input costs."
The three new Doppler radars will support five others in covering "almost every corner of country NSW".
The new Brewarrina Doppler radar should be operational by October.
It will be part of a growing national network of more than 60 weather radars operated by the Bureau of Meteorology.