TAMWORTH mayor Col Murray has said the continuing talk about the city’s future water security could be holding back investment.
The city was dealt a blow earlier this year when the state government revealed it could cost up to $480 million to upgrade and expand Dungowan Dam.
New England MP Barnaby Joyce has said there is $75 million in federal funding to expand Dungowan and shore-up Tamworth’s future water supply.
While levels at Chaffey Dam have fallen 24 per cent since the start of 2018, Tamworth Regional Council mayor Col Murray said we need to put a plug in talk of a shortage.
“We need to stop talking about water shortage,” Cr Murray told The Leader.
He said the city had a “good secure supply” and there wasn’t any sign of restrictions being enforced in the city.
Cr Murray said talk of a water shortage in Tamworth could stifle investment opportunities.
“If we’re high on the agenda of a potential investor and all the chatter is about a shortage of water, it could be an impediment for investing in Tamworth,” he said.
However, he said there had been quite a bit of interest in new parcels of land entering the market.
“The Hunter business park is starting to enter the market near Country Road and New Winton Road” he said.
“Talking to the owners, there’s quite a bit of interest, it’s ideally located and proving really sought-after.”
The mayor said there was a long-lead time to get the necessary investment into local water upgrades and pointed to the case of Chaffey’s expansion, which he said took about 10 years.
Council’s director of water and waste, Bruce Logan, has previously said the region would have enough water for the next 20 or 30 years without an upgrade to Dungowan.
Tamworth Regional Council has called on the NSW government to pay for an independent review on its quote for the Dungowan expansion.
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