THERE appears to be an urgent need to increase water storage in Tamworth as the council heaps pressure on the state government to help the city.
Tamworth Regional Council mayor Col Murray told the Leader money had been sought from the NSW government for a feasibility study into water upgrades for the city supply.
He believed an announcement would be made in coming weeks.
Cr Murray has previously said he’d like to see a 20 per cent expansion of Chaffey Dam.
He said it was time for a fully coordinated and comprehensive study into water upgrades for Tamworth.
The expansion of Chaffey would be just one of the options explored, along with the potential for a new “off-stream storage site” and tapping into more groundwater supplies.
“There's been lots of smaller water studies done, but there hasn't been a fully-coordinated overview and that’s one of the things we’ve asked the state government for,” he said.
With these three options at the top of the council’s agenda, it appears the plan to expand Dungowan Dam is now dead in the water.
If the funds can’t be secured from the state government, Cr Murray said council would pay for its own feasibility study so it could begin lobbying for upgrade funds as soon as possible.
A spokeswoman for NSW water minister Niall Blair wouldn’t comment on whether Tamworth water security was an urgent issue, but she said there was a tranche of funding available.
“It is critical that Tamworth and all water supply councils are doing the necessary planning and where appropriate the NSW government is investing in addressing water security risks,” she said.
“As Tamworth council continues to assess its water security needs and long term options, the NSW government is ready to provide co-funding for approved initiatives through programs such as our Safe and Secure Water program.”
Meanwhile, water levels at Chaffey Dam continue to plummet with the council on the brink of enforcing level two restrictions in the city once it falls below 35 per cent.
This summer there only 74.8mm of rain recorded at the airport, paling in comparison to the combined long-term rainfall average for December and January of 151.1mm.