THE PLAN designed to prevent Tamworth from running out of water in dry times, will take climate change into account when it is reviewed in the coming months, according to the city's water boss.
Tamworth Regional Council water and waste director Bruce Logan told the Leader residents need to get used to saving the precious resource, as the region experiences the impacts of a changing climate.
Council's drought management plan, which dictates trigger levels for Chaffey Dam and water use targets for residents tapped into the town supply, is under review this year.
"With climate change and what we've seen in the last 20-odd years, we are going to have more dry times and that means we're going to have to be conditioned to using less water," Mr Logan said.
"There is not going to be abundant water for the next 50 years, I can see it being repeats of what we've just had, rather than long and extended periods of abundant water.
"So I think it's best for us to start practicing, as we have for the last 10 or 15 years, conserving water and we need to continue to do that."
Mr Logan said the big issue he saw with "climate change" was how much water might run into Chaffey Dam, rather than how much might be let out of the supply.
"We may see consumption increase if it continues to be hot and dry," he said.
Mr Logan said water use targets, which are a daily goal set down for water use city-wide when on restrictions, could be adjusted.
"If we can't achieve the targets we're after, we have to look at more stringent measures and climate change may mean that's what we have to do," Mr Logan said.
Tamworth environmentalist Phil Spark said he supported council acknowledging future variations in weather conditions off the back of the big dry.
"Virtually everything needs to be re-modelled based on the extremely low flows we've seen, and all modelling going forward needs to factor in those extreme low flows," Mr Spark said.
He said the science showed "more frequent and more extreme" weather variations could be on the horizon.
Mr Spark said he "supported" climate change being part of the conversation, but more needed to be done.
"If we want to guarantee water security, the variation of the climate means dams are not going to guarantee improved security ... recycling water will," he said.
"We could skip the Dungowan Dam bit and just go straight to the recycling bit."
He said conserving water in homes and having more "self efficiency" with water tanks would also be key.
The new Dungowan Dam build is set to cost half-a-billion dollars, and Tamworth Regional Council is still waiting to find out how the water stored in the dam will be shared with local users.
Tamworth Regional Council is in the midst of reviewing its drought management plan for the city, with a phone survey underway and an online survey open to all town users until February 5.