TAMWORTH Regional Council has agreed to provide an extra $250,000 for the augmentation of Chaffey Dam, on top of the more than $3.3 million it’s already committed to the project.
It comes after a revision of the estimated construction cost prompted State Water Corporation to request a larger budget for the project.
A report put to the council on Tuesday, August 14, said the construction budget for both the safety upgrade and the augmentation of the dam was $43.34 million, but reductions in scope and discussions with the preferred contractor had seen the estimated construction cost fall just below the budget.
The State Water board will not proceed with the project unless the budget is greater than the T90 construction estimate – the estimate that has only a 10 per cent chance of being exceeded.
To meet this, an extra $2 million is required.
Based on the original split between the council, state government and federal government, this requires an additional $250,000 from the council, $550,000 from the NSW government and $1.2 million from the federal government.
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson has reportedly advised that the state government has committed its share of the extra funds.
The council’s water enterprises director Bruce Logan said with the federal government in caretaker mode, the council would not hear from it until after the election.
Mayor Col Murray told the meeting the Nationals candidate Barnaby Joyce said the federal government would meet its obligation.
The report said the increased storage of the dam, from 62,000 megalitres to 100,000 megalitres, would deliver the council access to an extra 7000 megalitres of raw water per year for the one-off price of $515 per megalitre.
“Staff are unaware of any alternatives to access this quantity of water at a price the same or less than this cost,” the report said.
Councillor Juanita Wilson was not happy with the request for extra funds, which she said was a “ruthless application of government strength” and was inequitable for the area.
But Cr Warren Woodley said he considered $250,000 to be relatively cheap.