It's a dire sight around Maitland but indicative of a drought that is crippling our region.
Many long-time Maitland residents would not, in their lifetime, have seen the water and life sucked out of the city's many wetlands.
What were once ponds and waterways with healthy ecosystems providing food and a safe haven for many native species, are now dust bowls.
Their transformation has concerned some residents to the point that they have offered to buy water in an attempt to bring the ponds back to life.
Wetlands are a critical part of our natural environment. They protect our shores from wave action, reduce the impacts of floods, absorb pollutants and improve water quality.
They provide habitat for animals and plants and many contain a wide diversity of life, supporting plants and animals that are found nowhere else.
Maitland councillor and horticulturalist Don Ferris, is devastated at the wetlands' degradation.
"They are important ecosystems with fish, turtles, bird life and an assortment of other creatures relying on them," he said.
"It's scary when we've had the driest and hottest year on record and we have to start looking at some potential solutions.,"
Cr Ferris has been approached by concerned residents interested in buying water to put back into local wetlands.
"I've been supportive of this and council is investigating," he said. "Chlorinated water is not good for aquatic ecosystems, however removing the chlorine from water using ascorbic acid (vitamin C) pills is a relatively straight forward process.
"Topping up of wetlands in the Lower Hunter during extended dry periods is not unprecedented. This occurred at Shortland Wetlands in recent years.
"This is something I have raised with council and they are looking into the logistics of it," Cr Ferris said.
"It's a balancing act when you know the community relies on the water. But wildlife do as well. In fact wildlife probably need it more. With humans there is a lot of waste like trying to keep lawns green, filling pools and taking long showers."
Cr Ferris said the pond near Telarah Lagoon behind the Heritage Motor Group (HMG) was dry before Christmas.
HMG Dealer Principal Michael Taylor said he had never seen the pond they call Lake Heritage empty before.
"We have separation tanks and filter water into the pond from our workshop," Mr Taylor said.
"The pond was always healthy and we check it all the time to make sure it's a clean and healthy environment.
"We're still putting water into it, as is Bunnings, but with the recent dry conditions, it just evaporated."
Mr Taylor said a lot of the wildlife that inhabited the pond (fish, lizards, eels and the occasional pelican) have moved across to Telarah Lagoon.
Cr Ferris said there are other lagoons at Bolwarra, Metford, Largs and Morpeth Common that are all in pretty bad shape and potentially could do with an extra drink.
"Let's hope this change brings down some decent rain and things get back to normal soon.
"However, we should also be prepared for hotter and dryer periods in the future and understand where strategically intervening and adding water can maximise sound biodiversity conservation outcomes," Cr Ferris said.
Cr Ferris' fellow councillor Mitchell Griffin posted to his Facebook page the dire effects the drought is having on wetlands at Metford.
"This afternoon I saw first hand the effect that the drought is having on our waterways and wetlands in Maitland.
"I visited Metford Wetland today (January 5) which was totally dry. It's very sad as I have been visiting this area for over 20 years and have never seen it this dry before," Cr Griffin wrote.
A spokesperson for Maitland City Council said council has a number of both natural wetlands and constructed water bodies in the form of lagoons, dams and stormwater detention basins.
"Any water body can be an important asset to the environment, particularly during times of drought. It is important to note that natural wetlands undertake a wetting and drying cycle, and this is important for maintaining these ecosystems. This cycle has been exacerbated by the drought.
"Future initiatives to assist in building the resilience of our environment will be addressed via Council's Local Strategic Planning Statement which is currently under development and has been subject to extensive community consultation."