The council has been in talks with state and federal governments about expanding Chaffey Dam a further 20 per cent, with water restrictions a matter of days away.
Chaffey Dam fell to 40.1 per cent capacity on Wednesday as Tamworth Regional Council braces for level one cutbacks to be imposed next week.
Mayor Col Murray said now was the time for residents to be careful and conscientious about their water use.
“It was only two years or so ago Chaffey got into the low teens,” Cr Murray said.
“We don’t want want to go back there again.
“We should be thankful we had the upgrading of Chaffey when we did and and the rain that filled it, otherwise we’d be in dire straits right now.”
While water restrictions are inevitable at this stage, Cr Murray didn’t believe the council’s drought management plan needed to be updated to help extend the region’s water security.
He said expanding the dam should be the priority.
It comes less than three years after the last upgrade was finished.
“I personally believe the drought management plan is a very robust plan,” he said.
“The real issue is how much we hold in storage.
“There has been very early talks to potentially seek another 20 per cent upgrade at the dam.
“It’s the ideal time talk to other levels of government, to talk to Barnaby Joyce, Kevin Anderson and the other candidates about how we improve our water security.”
Despite having little more than 100 megalitres of water to go before hitting the trigger point for level one restrictions, the council was tight-lipped when it came to singling out a date to start curtailing local usage.
“Despite the wild weather we had in the days leading to Christmas and the good general rainfall in the catchment earlier, significant inflow into the dam has still eluded us,” water director Bruce Logan said.
“Based on current summer consumption levels and ongoing minimal rain, we expect we will reach the trigger point for level one water restrictions for Tamworth, Moonbi and Kootingal by the second week of January.”
In a press conference before Christmas, Mr Logan said restrictions could be 20 days away, suggesting January 8 could be the day.