GUYRA'S water lifeline was officially opened on Tuesday, the state government heralding it as cementing the town's future growth.
Armidale Regional mayor Simon Murray, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall and NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro made the trek to open the Malpas Dam to Guyra pipeline.
The $13 million, 18km pipeline has been operational for nearly two months already, supplying Guyra's water needs in this devastating drought.
Without the pipeline, Mr Marshall said, the council and state government would have had to cart water up to Guyra for at least a year. Once the drought lifted, he predicted, the pipeline would make Guyra's growth limitless.
Contractors raced against time to finish the pipeline ahead of schedule. Since mid-August, all of Guyra's water supply has come through the pipeline, council engineer Manish Khadgi said. Guyra dam has only three weeks of water left, and the town has been on level 5 water restrictions since June.
Cr Murray said the pipeline's six pumps were "the lifeblood of Guyra at the moment". The 300 megalitre pipeline can pump from 12 to 60 litres a second, or up to 4.5ML a day, based on demand.
Guyra's reservoirs - on the same water system - have 21 days of water stored; the council will keep them as a back-up, Cr Murray said.
"It gives us that extra storage in the Guyra reservoirs in case something happens here," Cr Murray said.
The state politicians want to expand the Malpas Dam reservoir wall by 5 metres to double its capacity from 13,000 to 26,000 million litres, securing water supply.