A PIPELINE to secure Tamworth's water supply has been finished in less than half the time of similar projects.
Construction is complete on the 18.2km pipeline from Chaffey Dam to the existing Dungowan pipeline that already flows to Tamworth, and now there are just a few more tests to be done. The project was fast-tracked as part of the state government's drought response.
It will save the city bucket-loads of water that was previously lost in transmission down the Peel River, Tamworth Regional Council water and waste manager Dan Coe said.
"We still have a couple of weeks of commissioning to make sure it operates the way it was designed," he said.
"It's just ironing out any bugs from design through to operation.
"This is the first time since Chaffey Dam was built that we will be able to bring water to Tamworth without any losses."
The temporary weir and pumps installed at Dungowan Dam will stay up and running until the pipeline tests are finished in mid-May.
WaterNSW spearheaded the project and will meet with landholders on the Peel River in the coming weeks to discuss new arrangements for water releases once the pipeline is switched on full-time.
In the meantime landholders should expect fluctuations in river flows while water is pumped through the pipeline at different times and volumes.
The temporary weir has extended Tamworth's water supply by 12 months, a WaterNSW spokesman said, and as a result water releases for environmental flows will continue.
"The planning approval conditions require that an environmental release of 30ML per week be released from Chaffey Dam," he said.
"This is notionally released over one day each week however, this requirement is currently being achieved via an increase of 15ML approximately every four days."
Chaffey Dam's water level sits at 13.9 per cent and Tamworth residents remain on Level 5 water restrictions.
Further restrictions will be imposed when the dam reaches 10 per cent capacity.
At that point the environmental water releases down the Peel River will be stopped.