WATER bills in Tamworth would increase by more than 50 per cent if the city used treated sewage for a drinking supply, according to a new report.
Tamworth Regional Council will meet on Tuesday night where a report will be tabled urging councillors to sidestep any plans to turn the Westdale sewage plant into a water supply, for now.
Level 5 restrictions will be in effect when the councillors vote on the report.
And while the council conservatively estimates it could reap six megalitres of water a day, there would be significant costs passed down to ratepayers.
Giving the current Westdale sewage plant a new life in a "direct potable reuse" (DPR) scheme would initially cost $71 million, the report said.
It would also have ongoing maintenance costs which could top $1.8 million per year.
"In terms of the impact to residential water bills, the average current annual bill for water usage is approximately $470 per property," the council's manager of water and waste, Dan Coe, said in his report.
"In the event the DPR scheme was constructed for the estimated cost and operated to produce 6ML/day it is expected that this bill would increase to $710 per year for the same amount of water."
Mr Coe's report said the scheme would be "technically feasible" but a number of issues were highlighted as deal-breakers for pursuing the option right now.
"Difficulties in disposal of reject or brine water created from the treatment process": was another concern.
If a similar project was run on the coast the brine would be "simply put back into the sea".
The report also highlighted the relatively unknown approval process for such a scheme and the "difficulty in obtaining community/social acceptance".
Mr Coe didn't put a permanent line through the idea and said it could be revisited if there were technological changes which addressed the main issues.