Australian consumers are being advised to brace for higher food prices because water to grow crops will be harder to come by in the Murray-Darling Basin for the next three months.

Major dams are already low - the the Hume and Dartmouth Dams were at 40 and 60 percent capacity respectively - and the Bureau of Meteorology believes they are unlikely to get much rain in the last quarter of 2019.  That means that farmers aren't going to get large allocations of water, and some may not even get enough to grow anything this year.

"It's scary," said farmer Dean Morpeth, who has orchards at Woorinen in northern Victoria, in an interview with the ABC.  "I'm a fourth-generation farmer and you look at your land and then you see potentially that you're not going to be able to farm it and make money."  He added, "We'd like to be successful but without water it's impossible."

Some entities might be tempted to augment their allocations of scarce water resources by helping themselves to water that isn't theirs - and officials will be on the lookout for water theft and corruption.

"A long summer is going to mean less water obviously and it's going to raise the value of water," said the Murray-Darling Basin's interim inspector-general Mick Keelty.  "When the water value rises that presents a temptation for people to access when they're not entitled to access."