THERE was standing room only at Dungowan Hotel on Tuesday night, as almost 100 people crammed in to hear the state government's plan for a pipeline and weir system in Tamworth that is expected to leave the Peel River dry.
WaterNSW revealed the project would be carried out in two stages. Stage one involves a pump station and two weirs to restrict the flow along the Peel - one at Dungowan and another at Jewry Street bridge - which are expected to extend Tamworth's water supply by four months with no inflows.
A WaterNSW spokesperson said as the drought dragged on, the groundwater table, which is closely connected to the river, had dropped significantly.
As a result, more water must be released to meet water orders.
"Transmission losses are at a record high," the spokesperson said.
"Last year, we lost 17,000 megalitres just from running the river.
"Doing nothing is not an option. If we get rain, great, but we have to plan for a no-flow situation now."
The second stage involves a permanent pipeline, which WaterNSW said would drought-proof the city.
A second meeting will be held at Tamworth Community Centre on Tuesday night, from 7pm to 9pm.