WORK on the $480 million Dungowan Dam project will begin shortly with 180 pipes for the pipeline set to arrive this week.
While a business case on the new dam itself is not expected to be completed until late 2021, the development of the pipeline which would connect it to the Calala Water Treatment Plant is already in full flow.
Its construction will be split into two phases, the first of which will see a new connection built between Tamworth's town water supply and the Chaffey Dam pipeline, which was completed last year.
Despite recent progress, Federal Member for New England Barnaby Joyce is not pleased with the pace of the Dungowan Dam project overall.
He said bureaucracy is causing too many delays, and the prime minister committed to building a dam, not completing a study to "possibly" build a dam.
"There's a frustration, we're two years down the track and we're still doing studies, the studies have got to finish and the building has got to start," he said.
Large investment in the region since the dam's announcement is enough evidence to give the project approval according to the former agriculture minister.
"Some people are saying 'we don't know how the business case is going', well what else do you want, for the archangel Gabriel to descend from heaven and tell you everything is a-okay? Just get on with it."
However, NSW Minister for Water, Property and Housing, Melinda Pavey, said such a significant piece of infrastructure required detailed planning.
She said the government understood the dam's importance, and was doing all it could to fast-track its development.
"Projects of this scale are complex and a robust business case is absolutely essential to ensuring these projects deliver maximum benefits to the community, whilst minimising impacts and ensuring value for taxpayer money," she said.
"In 2019, the NSW government designated the proposed project as Critical State Significant Infrastructure, which has enabled many activities to be accelerated and allowed the final business case and environmental assessment planning to run in parallel."
However, Mr Joyce said it was important to start construction on the new dam before the election, fearing it could be shelved under a different government.
The project does have its detractors. A report by the Productivity Commission found that any increases in construction costs would cause a funding blowout that would make the project "unviable" and that the decision making was "flawed".
Both Ms Pavey and Mr Joyce have slammed the findings. The former has argued the report was premature and the latter described it as nothing but an opinion.
"The Productivity Commission would have Tamworth packed up and moved back to Portsmouth in England if the Productivity Commission had its way," he said.
"The Productivity Commission is an opinion, it's not a law of physics, it's not anything more than one person's opinion, that opinion is respected, but if you followed their logic very little would ever happen."
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