CHAFFEY Dam has had the lowest levels of inflow ever recorded in a 21-month period.
Since July 2018, only 7.3 gigalitres of water flowed into the dam, which is Tamworth's main water supply.
A report from the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) revealed this is less than half of the amount of water which entered the dam during the previous lowest flows on record, which totalled 15 gigalitres, for the same time period.
The DPIE Water Allocation Statement said 300mm to 400mm of rain had fallen in the Peel Valley catchment in the first three months of this year.
It also means 3.2 gigalitres dribbled into Chaffey Dam in the first three months of 2020, leaving only 4.1 gigalitres entering the dam in the whole 18 months prior.
Despite the patchy falls in the Tamworth region in the past months, it has largely failed to boost flows in the Peel Valley and the water level at Chaffey Dam has failed to rise significantly.
Chaffey Dam kicked off 2020 with a capacity of 13.8 per cent. It has hovered around 13 to 14 per cent in the months since, and was sitting at 14.1 per cent capacity on Thursday.
The DPIE report said despite the rainfall, ongoing dry conditions in surrounding areas had affected water availability in the Peel Valley.
Water losses from Chaffey Dam have far exceeded expectations, tracking six gigalitres more than predicted, according to the DPIE.
The actual level of water inflows to the dam have fallen flat compared to previous minumums, tracking eight gigalitres less than expected.
The DPIE said the installation of emergency measures, like the temporary weir at Dungowan village will help to conserve water.
The Peel regulated water source is still on the maximum Stage 4 drought level, meaning remaining resources are committed to meeting "only the highest priority needs", according to the DPIE statement for the Peel Valley.
The report states "water held in Chaffey Dam is securing critical human needs", but controversial environmental releases from the dam have been heavily criticised by Tamworth council.
Water NSW, the body responsible for the releases, told the Leader on Wednesday that environmental flows were required under state government rules around the Dungowan weir.
The Leader reached out to the NSW DPIE for comment but it did not respond.
In more positive news, the seasonal climate outlook in the DPIE statement predicts wetter than average conditions are likely for the Peel Valley in the three months from April to June.