IT COULD cost ratepayers $17,500 to buy back water Tamworth Regional Council took from the Scott Road Drift Wells outside its allocation.
The council is under investigation by the Natural Resource Access Regulator (NRAR) for the breach and will vote on whether to buy 350ML of water on the open market at Tuesday's meeting.
A report to the council written by water and waste director Bruce Logan argues staff believed they could take more water from the wells, despite the breach, when the new water year started on July 1.
"But during discussions with NRAR staff we were advised that this is not the case," he said.
It means the council has two options: to not to take any water from the wells for another year until its allocation fills the balance of the over-extraction and use dwindling supplies at Chaffey Dam, or buy water on the open market.