THE state government has declared every option on the table, as it begins to plan a road map for the region's long-term water security.
The new Water Minister Melinda Pavey said she would work with the community to develop the Namoi Regional Water Strategy, which would consider "all viable options to improve water security".
"It will assess the best mix of options for Peel Valley water users and other users across the Namoi Valley taking into account long-term climate change and variability impacts," Ms Pavey said.
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson said upgrading Chaffey Dam should be the first option investigated.
"That is a real achievable thing we can do in the short term, which will give us increased water security," Mr Anderson said.
"If we did not upgrade Chaffey a few years ago, this city would now be out of water.
"Stage two of what I think should happen, is we look at options for new dams. No doubt about that, but they will take a long time. They're a slow burn."
The federal government has committed $75 million to upgrading Dungowan Dam, however the project appears dead in the water with the NSW government's feasibility study putting the total cost at $440 million.
The Leader asked Mr Anderson if he'd push for the money to be diverted towards Chaffey, to which he replied: "I've always been of that vein".
"Dungowan is definitely an option," he said.
"Do they build a new Dungowan, which would become Dungowan two? That was the original plan, because you'd have to build a brand new wall downstream.
"So effectively you have Dungowan Dam one and Dungowan Dam two.
"Those options should absolutely be looked at. I know they are looking at the costings and the feasibility of that."
New England MP and former federal water minister Barnaby Joyce urged Ms Pavey to investigate the Swamp Oak Dam, which was considered alongside Chaffey in the 1970s and already has plans draw up for it.
While Ms Pavey was not sold on the idea, she said it would be considered.
"The Swamp Oak catchment area is only approximately 300 square kilometre, this means that a dam option in this catchment may not contribute significant supply," she said.
"However, all feasible options will be assessed as part of the Namoi Regional Water Strategy."
Mr Anderson said there was also a discussion to be had around piping water from the Split Rock, Copeton, Malpas and Chaffey dams.
"We need to consideration absolutely everything," he said.
Tamworth Region Council general manager Paul Bennett couldn't comment on the strategy.
"We have not been involved in any discussions about the strategies, however Council has written to the Minister requesting a meeting to discuss a range of local water issues," he said.
"We look forward to working with her."