POLITICIANS won't say whether the council or the state government will control the water captured in the new Dungowan Dam.
The Prime Minister and Premier made a flying visit to Tamworth at the weekend to announce the state and federal governments would jointly fund a new $480 million dam for the city.
The announcement was lauded by local leaders, but the Premier, mayor and state MP all dodged questions on who would manage the water potentially captured in the new dam.
The trio said it would be resolved in the coming weeks.
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson rejected claims the decision was rushed, while conceding there was "a lot of detail and a lot of planning still to come".
The state government will pay for the majority of the project; half of the federal government contribution will come in the form of a loan to NSW.
Tamworth Regional Council will have a significant stake in the project, having bought all of the necessary land around Terrible Billy Creek.
Mr Anderson was absent for the historic announcement on Sunday, but he confirmed on Monday the state would build the dam.
Whether it becomes a NSW government asset remains to be seen.
"Let's get the planning under way first," he said.
"Let's get the dozers in the ground, let's start building this dam and, as the weeks progress, further plans and details will emerge."
At Sunday's announcement, Premier Gladys Berejiklian wouldn't reveal which level of government would control the water the new dam would yield.
"Well, these are issues that, of course, we will move forward with, but what is a priority for us is having the water there to support the communities," she said.
"They're lovely discussions to be in a position to be able to have, because we weren't able to have those discussions before."
Mr Anderson, the Minister for Better Regulation, appeared keen to cut every regulatory red-taped corner possible to build the dam as quickly as possible while deferring detailed discussions.
He said he'd put new planning laws - designed to fast-track state-significant critical infrastructure - "to the sword".
"I am going to make sure we bust the red tape and bust any brick wall that looks like being put up to slow this project down," he said.
Sunday's announcement is not expected to help the city through the current drought: the year 2024 has been given as an early completion date.
Mr Anderson said the project would be a long-term solution for the city and rejected criticism that a new dam wouldn't instantly mean more water stored.
"We [will] never find ourselves in this situation again," he said.
He suggested similar arguments had arisen when Chaffey was expanded.
"We pumped a significant amount of money - again with the federal and state government, as well as the local government - to upgrade Chaffey Dam from 60,000 megalitries to 100,000 megalitres and, once we finished the build on that, it rained for three months solid and filled that dam," he said.
"We know it will rain.
"I am sincerely hoping once you start digging, once you start moving some soil around, the rains will come."
Tamworth mayor Col Murray said the question of who'd control the new dam had been broached with the water minister.
He said it was a very important issue for the community and it needed to be sorted out.
"Minister [Melinda] Pavey and myself have had those discussions," he said.
"In the early stages, we have agreed getting the water security is the most important issue.
"We will get that issue nailed down and we will have the discussions about where the ownership of the water goes."
He believed it could be a big factor in in the Peel water-sharing plan, which is currently being reviewed.
"It is a big issue because how this valley works in conjunction with the Peel Valley and how this dam might work with the Chaffey Dam and how the water sharing plan plays out - that will have a big impact on all of these discussions," he said.
Cr Murray agreed the new dam funding was probably one of the biggest announcements in the history of the city.
He hoped it would plug an economic drain on Tamworth.
"The fact that water security is probably the biggest issue for the community obviously makes it the single biggest issue for the council and myself," he said.
"This is a massive day for Tamworth, I believe.
"I think we have already seen some indications of investment being lost to the city.
"This should shore it up for the future, and onwards and upwards to 100,000."
At Sunday's announcement, Cr Murray said Tamworth was probably one "of the most water-restricted cities in regional Australia over the last 10 or 15 years".