Tamworth could get into the floodplain harvesting game and siphon water just before it flows out of the Peel Valley under a new pipeline plan.
Pumping water into a new pipeline between the Peel River near Carrol Gap Bridge and Keepit Dam would allow Tamworth Regional Council to siphon water out of the river during floods for town water security, Councillor Mark Rodda said.
His plan to ask the NSW State Government for funding and support for the pipeline "should it be feasible", will go to councillors on Tuesday night.
Water NSW data shows some 62 gigalitres of water fell into tributary catchments below Tamworth's primary water storage, Chaffey Dam, in the early months of 2020.
The water passed through the Peel River into the Namoi River, some of it to continue to flow out to sea at Adelaide.
Tamworth could have harvested 20 gigalitres and added the equivalent of 20 per cent of Chaffey Dam's stored water, Cr Rodda said.
"In a lot of respects, it has a bit of similarity to the vexed issue of floodplain harvesting," he said.
"Because essentially that's what I'm suggesting, during good rain and weather events we take a bit of that water to pump into a current dam."
Farmers were controversially allowed to harvest flood waters - the 'first flush' - in February this year for use in irrigation. The government was later dissallowed from permitting additional floodplain harvesting in September.
Cr Rodda said if irrigators are allowed to siphon off a share of a major flood, Tamworth Regional Council ought to be permitted to as well.
"It's another attempt to have a bite of the cherry to get some water into another regional storage that's quite close to Tamworth."
He said the rules of the Peel Valley Water Sharing Plan would likely govern water harvesting like that, so authority to do so would lie with the state government.
"I'm not advocating that we deny people elsewhere to have a piece of that water, I'm just saying take a bit of it.
"It's quite evident we're not getting the rain events to fill some of those storages [like Keepit]."
Cr Rodda said he expected widespread support for the motion from others councillors on Tuesday night - "it's a pretty benign ... recommendation", he said.