WATER Minister Melinda Pavey would be happy to take a "big cheque" from Tamworth Regional Council (TRC) if it wants ownership of the Chaffey Dam pipeline.
Construction on the new $44 million pipeline wrapped up in April and means there are no water transmission losses for the first time since Chaffey Dam was built.
TRC has bargained for ownership and management rights of the pipeline, given it already owns and manages the second section of the line from Dungowan to the Calala Water Treatment plant.
The two bodies were trying to work through the issues, Ms Pavey said.
"I would be happy to take a big cheque from Tamworth City Council for the pipeline but I don't think that is a feasible option at this time," she said.
"It's not about egos, it's not about whose name is on a plaque, or who gets to be the boss.
"It's actually just about having the right capacity, the right people doing the job and managing it the right way."
In April, the council formally wrote to Ms Pavey to request ownership and management of the 18.2km pipeline.
But, mayor Col Murray confirmed the recent conversations had implied that ownership of the pipeline was unlikely.
Residents can expect a modest increase to water rates to cover the cost of the multi-million dollar pipeline and its ongoing maintenance.
Ms Pavey said she was happy to have open conversations with the council because she had heard from Mr Anderson that it was adept at managing pipelines.
"Be assured on our minds will be the water rates for the citizens of Tamworth and Kevin Anderson will be fighting on your behalf for that and I suspect Barnaby Joyce [Member for New England] will as well," she said.
The fast-tracked Chaffey Dam pipeline was finished in half the time of similar projects.