I spoke informally with people in different Armidale businesses to try to get a picture of how the drought was affecting them.
Not surprisingly experiences varied.
Stores that sold equipment or clothing or anything that farmers might buy, have experienced a sharp drop in their sales - many close to 50%.
But as one woman told me, businesses that some people considered a luxury, such as hairdressers or yoga teachers or people selling cosmetics, were also experiencing a drop in sales because their clientele, many women on the land, were saving in every way they could.
I heard about a lawn mowing business that had almost no business the past two years because there are no lawns.
When I checked with a hairdresser she said she was lucky if the women who used to come every six to eight weeks, came every three months.
I heard about a lawn mowing business that had almost no business the past two years because there are no lawns. A man who delivered woodchips told me he had had to lay off three of his four workers and some days had only an hour's work.
A gardener, who had had regular customers, has no work.
Another shopkeeper told me her sales were good but when I enquired why, I was told it was because her four competitors had folded over the past few years.
Another person told me her business seemed to be doing okay but she thought it was because many of her customers mentioned the drought and the importance of buying locally rather than on-line.
An up-market clothing shop said business was fine. It sounds like the wealthy are still buying new clothes.
In a store that sold household goods of all kinds, I was told, "People just aren't buying these days". No further explanation but it seemed obvious people just don't have the cash.
Cafes seem to be doing okay. As a friend said, we need coffee to keep up the energy.
Maybe it is also because when people have less work, they spend more time hanging out with friends.
Thankfully another income that is way down is council's fees for water usage. People are using much less, but that is definitely a positive.