THE council has moved to assure businesses they will be looked after, with no end in sight to the region's water crisis.
The reality of Chaffey Dam falling below 10 per cent is drawing closer by the day and residents have been consistently asked to rein it in.
However, in a sense, it has been steady as she goes for businesses.
The angst is still quite real for businesses, which are continuing to trade while confidence in the region takes a hit as water supplies dwindle.
The council held a day-long forum with concerned business owners and operators earlier this week.
Water director Bruce Logan said it was supposed to be a chance for businesses to guide the council in supporting all sectors through this predicament.
Mr Logan said the representatives who attended put forward just a few ideas, but it was still fruitful.
"We didn't get that many suggestions about what we could - and couldn't - do to help the businesses," Mr Logan said.
"It was an opportunity to educate people on where the present situation is, where we are going and what we are doing.
"On that level, it was very good."
Mr Logan gave the business folk who attended the forum an insight about the council's short-term priorities.
He said new rebates to service - and perhaps replace - evaporative air-conditioners would be put to a council vote in February.
He also told the businesses the council would look into an overhaul of the region's water monitoring system.
The mooted switch to automated meter reading could cost tens of millions of dollars, Mr Logan said.
A number of representatives from real estate agencies attended, and it came after a council meeting with local air-conditioning businesses.
"It was a wide-ranging discussion," Mr Logan said.
"Obviously, a lot of our focus to date has been on the residential community, and we're trying shift that focus to the business community and what can we do to help them."
Tamworth, Moonbi and Kootingal remain on level 5 restrictions.
These measures ask residents to eliminate the outdoor use of treated water and curb personal consumption to 150 litres per day.
However, in the current drought management plan, businesses "may be asked to restrict water usage to only essential services".
Heavy rainfall is expected in coming days, but potential sooty run-off will pose a new challenge for the council.