THE question of who will own the new Dungowan Dam could remain unresolved for years, with the state government and Tamworth council agreeing to put off the discussion, and instead focus on getting the project started.
If the dam was owned and operated by the state government, the water would be divided between Tamworth residents, farmers and other large water users.
Water NSW chief executive officer David Harris and Tamworth mayor Col Murray have decided to put a pin in the ownership discussion for now.
"What we agreed with the mayor is that we'll worry about that a little bit later," Mr Harris said.
"The most important thing at the moment for us is to start the planning, the design and other works necessary to optimise the new Dungowan dam.
"Whilst that is going on, we can work out all sorts of issues around ownership and other things."
Cr Murray there were "a lots of pros and cons" involved in owning and operating large pieces of infrastructure.
"That's the discussion we're having now, who is best suited to deal with all those intricacies," Cr Murray said.
"We've put some of our respective factors on the table and we're starting to get a road map of what might be considered. Those discussions will be ongoing, possibly for the next couple of years.
"The most important thing is to get it built, then we can look at how those operational factors happen."
Pre-construction activity is expected to start early in the new year, including a geo-technical study and a deeper look in the yield capacity of the Dungowan valley.