THE Peel River will be flooded with recycled water over the weekend, as Tamworth council trials a plan to help poultry farms who have lost access to their water.
Water NSW cut the Peel River's flow, stopping it at a temporary weir at Dungowan to conserve the remaining 15 per cent in Chaffey Dam for Tamworth.
With the river running dry, six high-security licence holders downstream of Tamworth, including five poultry farms, will be without access to water.
TRC water and waste manager Dan Coe said the city produced about 60 megalitres of treated effluent every week, however it's not known if that will be enough.
"Based on previous flows in the Peel River, we believe it can get to the high-security users, but again, it's a trial to make sure that can happen," Mr Coe said.
"We'll do two block releases of 30 megalitres to push the water as far down the river as we can. Seepage is an unknown factor, that's why we are pumping the water in to river as fast as we can."
The trial will run for the next four to eight weeks, as council finetunes the process.
The recycled water is currently contracted to a nearby lucerne farm. To send it to the poultry farms on a permanent basis, council will have to pay a large compensation package, so it wants to be sure the plan works before breaking the contract.
Mr Coe said there may be enough water for both the poultry farms and the lucerne farm.
"Obviously we are still in negotiations with the farm contractor about any compensation amounts that might be required," he said.
There's a fear that the five chicken farms will have to shut down if they can't secure enough water. Together they produce more than 50 per cent of poultry to Baiada's abattoir, putting hundreds of jobs at risk.
"If the water doesn't get there, then we'll reassess," Mr Coe said.
Council obtained a licence exemption from the NSW Environmental Protection Agency to put the treated effluent in to the river.
"The water is treated to a high standard - we're already allowed to put the water in the river under high flow events, so there's no concern there," Mr Coe said.
"Once we put the water in the river, it will be Water NSW's job to monitor water use and where it's getting to."