A NEW water sharing plan which could govern water use in the region for the next decade has been slammed by Tamworth council for not adequately securing water for the city.
Tamworth Regional Council mayor Col Murray said he is frustrated with the lack of understanding around Tamworth's precarious water position, and said the city has been "seriously affected" by the lingering drought.
"We've been on Level 5 restrictions for 15 months now ... a change to that water sharing plan, which would have very little effect to other water users, could actually provide much better security for Tamworth Regional Council users and relieve that pressure on our water restrictions," he said.
"The amount of time Tamworth residents spend under water restrictions against every other regional city in NSW, we, in my understanding, we are much, much more affected than any other city in NSW."
The NSW Minister for Water Melinda Pavey has announced the Water Resource Plan for the Namoi Valley, and the water sharing plans for the Peel and Namoi rivers will be submitted to the Murray Darling Basin Authority by June 30.
The water sharing plan will govern the water in Chaffey Dam, Tamworth's main water supply.
Chaffey Dam has been hovering around 13 to 14 per cent in recent months, as the worst drought on record continues to grip regional NSW. According to Water NSW, the dam was sitting at 13.8 per cent on Monday.
Council's main concerns are that the plan fails to account for "very, very serious losses" in transmission, the lack of accountability for water that "escapes" the valley and washes downstream to other users and the potential amount of water that will be allocated to environmental purposes.
Cr Murray criticised the strict timeline of the plan, and said it is based off historical data more than a decade ago.
"I think it almost beggars belief when this water sharing plan, this 10-year plan, which will impact on this city and every single water user for the next 10 years, is being determined on historical evidence that finishes in 2010," he said on Monday.
"We've got the worst drought on record, we've got the opportunity, we've got all the statistics, we've got everything we need to actually build that into a future plan but unfortunately the NSW government [is] suggesting that that won't be the case.
"That historical evidence ... doesn't reasonably demonstrate the current climate change, the current experience of the worst drought on record."
A council report shows council asked NSW government representatives to delay making changes to the water sharing plans for the Namoi and the Peel until the drought has ended.
The government response in the report states: "The department is working to this timeline. Given we are unsure of when the drought will end, further changes are envisaged to the Peel regulated water sharing plan when the drought has ended and the department has reviewed and considered what actions need to be embedded in the [water sharing plan]."