THE NSW government is under the pump to construct an emergency pipeline to Tamworth before it's too late to be effective.
The pipeline, which will run from Chaffey Dam to Dungowan village, is expected to ensure Tamworth does not run out of water "provided it is installed by early 2020".
At a community meeting in Dungowan, WaterNSW representatives said a project like this would normally take up to two and half years to complete. However, the department will expedite the process and is aiming to have it finished in nine months.
"This project is extremely challenging in terms of time frames," a WaterNSW spokesman said.
"We believe we should be installing it soon to maximise the supply for Tamworth. We are targeting award of contract by September.
"Given the time frames we want to get this installed by, we're expecting construction costs to be upwards of $38 million.
"That will be subject to further government approval. That application for approval is already in play and going through the relevant processes."
Currently, the preferred route is via Back-Woolomin Road and there is an alternative route along Nundle Road. There is a third option that combines the two routes via Westback Road at Woolomin.
WaterNSW says it is yet to make a decision on the route, and will be consulting landowners along all option in the next few weeks.
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Where possible construction will be within existing road easements or land within the Chaffey Dam property boundary.
The department is yet to decide what the pipe diameter will be used for the project, which will be up to 20km long.
"We have to consider not only Tamworth's supply now, but it's supply in to the future," the spokesman said.
The pipeline will complement temporary weirs that will dam up the Peel, reducing water transmission losses.
There will be another community meeting on Tuesday, August 6, at the Tamworth Community Centre from 7pm to 9pm.