TAMWORTH MP Kevin Anderson will "double down" on efforts to protect the city's water supply after his government was clobbered by Tamworth councillors.
At Tuesday's meeting, councillors skewered Water Minister Melinda Pavey for "unaccountable" management of the precious resource after no changes were made to the Namoi and Peel River water sharing plans - despite the city still experiencing the worst drought on record.
Desperate for change, the council proposed a $100,000 media campaign to have the public lobby Mr Anderson, but voted against the spend.
"My view is that the water sharing plan is broken and needs to be reworked to better reflect the current environment in which we live," Mr Anderson said.
"In terms of the progress, there are a number of agencies, it is a spaghetti mess when it comes to managing water.
"We need to have a plan that meets our current needs and is able to change when we need it to be changed."
The council wrote to Ms Pavey in late-2019 to ask for the review to be held off until the drought was over to consider its full impact. Instead, the plans still rely on data that's a decade old.
A minimum of 3ML of water will still be released from Chaffey Dam daily, regardless of need. The town water supply will return to flow down the Peel River instead of the new pipeline, which has no transmission losses, once the dam reaches 25 per cent.
The 2010 data represents the lowest period of inflows into the dam, so the present drought will never be included in the inflow figures and allocations will not be amended to reflect its numerous challenges.
Without intervention, the "flawed" plans proposed by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) mean water restrictions will endure for the next 10 years, Tamworth Regional Council mayor Col Murray said.
"We feel that the DPIE are not listening to us, we need to get some political muscle," he said.
Ms Pavey was unavailable for an interview on Wednesday, instead issuing a statement.
"We are always happy to meet with Col Murray, he has never been shy about getting on the phone to me," she said.
"We suspended the Water Sharing Plans as a commitment to the pipeline.
"The pipeline was essential to ensure Tamworth had reliable water, by reducing transmission losses."
"Water for critical human needs come first every time.
"We wouldn't have spent this money ($44.3M) on this pipeline if we didn't think Tamworth's water supply wasn't our priority.
"Water sharing plans are currently being amended and community is key to getting it right.
"We need to get the balance right between town water supply, environment and industry, who provide jobs for the local community."