A PROPOSED plan to reveal how much water evaporative air conditioners guzzle in Tamworth has become a pipe dream, after the price was deemed too high by council.
Tamworth Regional Council considered two expressions of interests from outside contractors during a closed session at the last meeting, but decided not to go ahead with the project.
The call was put out for companies who might be able to monitor about 100 properties in the region with different evaporative cooler units for a year, to create a "clear picture" of how their use affects water consumption.
"We recieved two submissions, and they were assessed by council staff and we put them before council, and they have opted not to proceed with that at this stage," council's sustainability coordinator Tracey Carr said.
"The decision was based on the final cost, it was considered too much."
Ms Carr told the Leader the concept wasn't dead in the water, it just needed a new look.
"We are going to do some further investigation into what we can do ourselves with the resources that we have ... but we don't have any real sort of program for delivery of that at this point in time."
She said a "dramatic increase" in water consumption is noted on hot days - up to 5ML - which could be linked to air conditioners.
"We'd like to be able to confirm that, and then also it gives a starting point for what sort of initiatives we can look into that might reduce that water usage," Ms Carr said.
The [water] consumption that was achieved during the drought was really something amazing.Tracey Carr, Tamworth Regional Council
"With things like this it's all well and good to say run [coolers] efficiently, but without knowing what they are using and under what conditions they are using that water, the efficiency is only ever a guide, and if we can make that guide more specific, and get greater water savings in the long term, then we are all going to be better off."
Ms Carr said the devastating big dry that gripped Tamworth for a number of years proved Tamworth locals are keen to save a drop.
"The [water] consumption that was achieved during the drought was really something amazing," she said.
She said council rebates for maintenance of evaporative coolers were among the most popular.
In the meantime, Ms Carr said simple things locals can do to use less water when staying cool is check their meters regularly and be aware of what system you have.