TAMWORTH'S councillors have defended the approval of a new housing development claiming the city still needs to grow, despite a dwindling water supply.
The council unanimously backed a 161-lot subdivision at Moore Creek at its Tuesday night meeting.
It's a development which had caused some angst in the surrounding community.
Councillors pored over conditions in the development like the specific type of fencing property-owners could use and what type of tree would be planted on the public reserves.
But the chief concern among locals following the development was water security.
Councillors somewhat rebuffed the perceived drain the new estate would have on the city's supply.
Deputy mayor Phil Betts tried to bring some perspective to the debate, but also suggested expanding housing estates would impact water consumption.
"It does in one way, but we need to grow as a region," he said.
"Since 1996, average water consumption in TRC has not increased, it has stayed the same.
"And we still have 25 gigalitres in the dam, that's about half the old capacity."
Meanwhile, Helen Tickle noted there had "been a lot of discussion about the number of lots and how we are in dry times" and suggested a more sustainable approach.
Cr Tickle said increasing the minimum water tank size could be a way forward.
"The minimum capacity of the tank is not very big," she said.
Planning director Brent McAlister said the current minimum tank capacity was 2000 litres.
"Perhaps we should get stricter and increase that to 10,000 litres," Cr Tickle said.
"Anything less than that goes in no time at all."
The Moore Creek subdivision was unanimously approved by the council with more than 85 conditions placed on the development consent.
The development application was lodged more than 12 months ago by the Tamworth Land Company with a value of $8 million.