TAMWORTH Regional Council has asked the Water Minister for a geotechnical study of Dungowan Dam, which it hopes will drastically reduce the estimated cost of the $484-million upgrade.
The project appeared dead in the water, however the NSW government has recently had a change of heart and warmed to the project. It's massive price tag still remains a major hurdle.
Tamworth mayor Col Murray said without a geotechnical study, the cost of the upgrade was "left in limbo", as the worse-case scenario had been budgeted for.
"A lot of the blow-out in cost is because of the uncertainty of the underground," Cr Murray said.
"One thing we've asked [Water Minister Melinda Pavey] to consider is doing a geotechnical study on Dungowan, to check the suitability of the proposed site.
"A normal thing to do in the process of building a new dam is to confirm if the substrata is suitable."
Many have called into question the state government's almost half-a-billion costing of the project, including New England MP Barnaby Joyce and Tamworth Regional Council.
"We had a look at the cost of dams in the last 20 years in Australia, and per megalitre the proposal was more than double anything else that has been build," Cr Murray said.
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"If we can get that geotechnical study, we would have a much more finite number."
The Leader contacted Water Minister Melinda Pavey, however she did not respond to requests for a comment.
On a recent trip to Tamworth, Ms Pavey backed upgrading the dam from 6.3GL to 22GL as a "good option".