IT'S been a week since the Leader launched its Water Pressure campaign.
We're diving in to all things water, but what as emerged as the most pressing issue is the Namoi Regional Water Strategy, its timeline and the way it's tied to funding future water projects.
It started with asking Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson if there would be any money in the upcoming state budget, which will be announced in a couple of weeks, for large-scale water infrastructure in our region.
He responded that it was unlikely for any money to be allocated until a study - the Namoi Regional Water Strategy - was completed.
"We've got to have the idea before the money," Mr Anderson said.
"Otherwise it's cart before the horse stuff."
From there, the Leader approached the office of Water Minister Melinda Pavey to find out how long the study would take.
"Preliminary work on the Namoi Regional Water Strategy has commenced and the strategy is due to be completed by the end of 2020," a spokesperson for Minister Pavey said.
Tamworth councillor Mark Rodda was appalled by the government's 18 month timeline, pointing out it had been in power for eight years and was only just getting around to starting the study.
However, Tamworth's deputy mayor Phil Betts had an interesting perspective. He said that waiting until the end of 2020 was a small price to pay if it led to the upgrade of Dungowan Dam, which would represent an almost half-a-billion-dollar investment.
Local irrigators were disappointed with the government's "stalling tactic". Many of them are staring down the barrel of another year without any income, and the prospect of no action until the end of 2020 gave them little hope.
New England MP Barnaby Joyce has also weighed in and urged his state counterparts to expedite the study.
"If Sydney was in Tamworth's position, the study would be over the bulldozers would already be moving," he said.
I think many in the community would share the same sentiment as Mr Joyce.
Jamieson Murphy is an ACM journalist