THE region's irrigators are concerned the state government's lack of action on water security is going to cost them dearly, as many face the bleak prospect of another year without any income.
Yesterday, the Leader revealed the NSW government was reluctant to allocate any funding for water infrastructure projects until it had completed the Namoi Regional Water Study, which is due to be finished by the end of 2020.
As water resources become increasingly limited, irrigators will be among the first hit and many are already preparing to receive just a fraction of their usual water allocation.
Tamworth farmer Ian Coxhead said irrigators had been in "crisis mode" for the past two years, with many of the unregulated rivers they normally draw from, such as the Cockburn River, running dry.
He said waiting for the result of the study was "a stalling tactic", particularly given it could take government "months or years" to digest the report.
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"I'm so disappointed they are sitting on their hands, when they should bite the bullet and do something," Mr Coxhead said.
"There are plenty of projects that don't need results from the study. The money is there from the Snowy Hydro sale.
"Everyone knows it's bloody dry, they're bloody screaming out for more water storage, and it's bloody obvious they are sitting on their hands when they should be doing something."
Mr Coxhead said the flow on effects of a further downturn in the irrigation industry would be incredibly detrimental to the local economy.
"Here we are in the middle of the worst drought ever - and I mean that, it's the worst ever - and it's not over," he said.
"We need a more positive attitude from the government to move forward on this."
Carroll Gap irrigator Tom Wollaston said while he was "disappointed" by the lack of action, he understood the need for proper planning.
"I'd like to see them do something, but more importantly, it needs to be done correctly and not shooting from the hip," Mr Wollaston said.
"The sooner it's done the better, but I would prefer that it is done correctly and fairly, and that it's sustainable.
"Water is a limited resource and it's important that it's shared equally."