A DIRE situation that almost saw Tamworth run out of water has led to investigations into emergency water supplies below-ground.
More than a year after Tamworth Regional Council (TRC) voted to look into fractured rock aquifers, it has been handed a number of potential locations to start drilling.
It turns out the Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre (AELEC) is one of the most promising, according to a study carried out by Fender Geophysics and Engineering and development consultants SMEC.
On Tuesday, councillors will vote on whether to approve the drilling of two bores at AELEC at a cost of $170,000.
It has been named a prime location due to its proximity to a fault line, and the fact any water sourced could supply AELEC directly, thereby offsetting existing demand for recycled water.
If the water supply is high enough, it could even be returned to the Calala Water Treatment Plant to add to the town's raw water supply.
The two proposed bores would be used as tests to determine the viability of a permanent 200mm diameter bore, with council hopeful it could produce 10 megalitres per day. SMEC have predicted the AELEC site would supply between three and 10ML per day.
"The next step would be construction of two bores," a report to the councillors said.
"One, drilled at approximate 200mm diameter, would be used to measure the maximum sustainable flow whilst the second bore drilled at a 125mm diameter would monitor the impact of the first bore on the local aquifer.
"Both would confirm water quality and recharge rates."
Councillors will also vote on whether to undertake further geophysical investigations in the area around Bolton's Creek.
It received a high 'geophysical score' during studies, and could potentially supply industrial water to the Tamworth Global Gateway Park. Further investigations would cost $70,000
TRC will be presented with four options at Tuesday's meeting, which are to receive and note the report and do nothing further; drill the two bores at the AELEC; undertake further investigations around Bolton's Creek; or undertake options two and three.
Whatever decision is made, it is likely to affect and possibly delay the review of council's Drought and Water Management Plan.
Several water security prospects have been looked at recently, with TRC also expressing further interest in building a weir on the Peel River.
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