One of the country's most precious resources is going to waste rather than helping those that need it the most, a farmer claims.
A recent report by The Australia Institute has found 20 to 30 dams have been built on private property in recent years, with the help of taxpayer funds.
Murray Darling Association executive member and farmer Paul Funnell blamed "apathy" for the shortage of water supply storage to communities.
"Ideology is stopping the progress and security of our nation," Mr Funnell said.
"It's called forward planning; left-wing ideologists, radical environmentalists and the government are destroying and setting back ... opportunities.
"We have to get politicians to push the red and green tape away and get on with the job and publicly fund it."
Mr Funnell said the country's population has grown in 40 years since the last public dam of considerable size had been constructed.
He argued existing dams, such as Burrinjuck, are reaching their lifespans and there have been no plans to replace them.
"We have to accelerate the process, either expanding existing dams or building new ones," Mr Funnell said.
"We're leaving a legacy of destitution. Water is fundamental to life ... and we're not managing it or storing it correctly."
NSW Farmers Wagga branch chairman Alan Brown said improvements to water storage is the only practical way to offset climate change.
" ... they serve an important purpose and as a community we need productive agriculture uses," Mr Brown said.
"Burrinjuck and Blowering ... [which] guarantee water supply for communities and that basic requirement is failing northern NSW."
The federal government has spent millions of dollars subsidising new private dams, yet senior researcher at TAI Maryanne Slattery said these "dams do nothing for drought-stricken communities, the health of the river or struggling farmers".
These dams have been built on private land and are for the exclusive use of corporate agribusiness, such as Webster Limited."
Webster Limited owns Bringagee and Kooba Station dams near Griffith as well as a dam on the Hay Plains.
However, a spokesperson for the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the federal government has $3.3 billion to build major dams, weirs and pipelines.
"The National Water Grid Authority commenced last week and it will take the politics out of building water infrastructure," the spokesperson said.
"The government is calling on all the states and territories to work with the authority to establish the national plan and priority project list so that we can get bulldozers on the ground."
Wagga MP Dr Joe McGirr said it has become clear that there needs to be better monitoring of dams.
"We do have funding for farmers to drought-proof their properties and part of that includes building and consolidating dams to prevent evaporation," Dr McGirr said.
"It's becoming increasingly clear, particularly to the Murray Darling Basin Plan and the northern part of it, that we have not got assessment of flow correct and overestimated some of the flows."
Ms Slattery said it was time for a federal royal commission into the "mismanagement" of the Murray Darling Basin.