Water in Australia is a highly regulated natural resource managed primarily by State Governments. Unlike in other parts of the world, no farmer can take water whenever they need or want it.
Water is allocated by State Governments to the environment first, then critical human needs are met, and lastly what's left is allocated to irrigation farmers who hold water licences. Farmers pay for these licences and for the water they are delivered. In a drought affected year, where there's limited water, there's limited cotton.