TAMWORTH mayor Col Murray is calling for Tamworth to have its fair share of the water allocations from the new Dungowan Dam.
The project, which was announced last October, has been fast-tracked to help combat the region's drought conditions.
However, ahead of the beginning of construction later this year, distribution of the dam's water between the environment, high-security users and general-security users has not been announced.
"I think we are in that awkward time in the project where we should acknowledge the fast-tracked planning, which has allowed the project to proceed quickly," Cr Murray told the Leader.
"It was fast-tracked under the emergency legislation to address water shortages and thank God it did because otherwise we may not have been talking about a funding commitment for another year or two.
"However, while that part has been fast-tracked, things like the water sharing plan and who gets how much water, aren't travelling as quickly.
"The minister has indicated that construction of the project would begin later this year, so just when we will have an outcome on everything else, we're not sure."
Cr Murray questioned the project's validity if supplying the region's population wasn't a top priority.
"I guess the only comment I can make about it is that I hope common sense prevails," he said.
"The emergency legislation was to provide water security to the city and I just hope that's the case in the final outcome."
Cr Murray's push for clarity comes after Tamworth Regional Council representatives met with NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey last week.
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson said a timeline of when allocations would be known was outlined during the meeting.
"The business case will be put forward by Water NSW and the mayor was in a meeting with us when the business case in relation to who has what percentage of water from the dam was being worked up," Mr Anderson said.
"The council will certainly be part of those discussions, as per the meeting and they are looking to have the business case done by early next year."
Mr Anderson said finding a balance between all water users would be key to formulating the business case.
"The environment we find ourselves in means we have to look at industry, community and our businesses, which include the farming sector," he said.
"The agricultural sector is very important to our region, so there are many competing factors for every drop of water and the balance has to be right."
A Water NSW spokesperson said the final decision on water allocation would rest with the NSW Department of Primary Industries and Environment (DPIE).
"Estimates of the practical benefits and additional availability of water through improvements in water security and reliability for the community of Tamworth will be confirmed as part of the final business case, due to be completed by mid 2021," the spokesperson said.
"Ultimately however, how water is allocated is a decision for DPIE and will be defined in the water sharing plan."