AS TAMWORTH boasts visions of growth, prosperity, and a booming population, will there be enough water to go around?
But will there be enough water for everyone?
The current flow
At the moment, water is supplied to Tamworth, Moonbi and Kootingal via Chaffey Dam, the Peel River, and Dungowan Dam.
Chaffey and Peel are used as the main water supply, with raw water sourced from Dungowan as a secondary supply.
The raw water is held and treated at the Calala Water Treatment Plant before being pumped out across the city to supply households and industry.
During a behind the scenes look at the water treatment plant, Tamworth Regional Council's manager of water and environmental operations Dan Coe said with the way the city is growing no "major capacity upgrades" for the plant should be needed for the next two decades.
He said with the 120 megalitres of water storage at the plant it's likely that will be enough for the next 25 years.
As of February 8, dam levels are looking healthy, with Chaffey Dam sitting at 86.34 per cent capacity, and 81.6 per cent at Dungowan Dam.
In the meantime, council is pouring resources into plans to ensure water security for Tamworth in years to come.
Water recycling to bump up capacity
Early works and designs are kicking ahead at 'full-stream' for a proposed purification plant, which will help clean up the city's water.
The proposed plant would recycle dirty water from the city's three abattoirs and recycle it back into the facilities for future use.
Mr Coe said council staff are working with the state government to sketch out a business case for exactly what the plant would look like.
"If we were to get the purified water facility it would take some of the capacity and loading off this [Calala] treatment plant," he said.
Although water allocation is a job for the state government through water sharing plans, Mr Coe said if the purification plant goes ahead it's likely to "free up" capacity for residential use.
Tamworth Regional Council has recently received grant funding from the state government to continue working on the proposal.
No new dam, but a 'better' pipeline
Plans for the new Dungowan Dam officially dried up in 2023, but the council is preparing to formally take ownership of a shiny new section of pipeline.
A 21-kilometre stretch of pipe connecting the water treatment plant to the Dungowan Showgrounds was completed in August 2023 to replace the old infrastructure, which was prone to leaks and failures.
Mr Coe said although the new pipeline has been built, and is in the process of formally being handed over to the council, it doesn't mean more water can be pumped from the dam.
The 21-kilometre pipeline was earmarked as 'Stage One' of the Dungowan Dam upgrade, with the later stages expected to replace the entire line before the project was axed.
"The new pipeline is better, but we've still got the 35-kilometres of old pipeline," Mr Coe said.
"Which is keeping our capacity at the same."
Without a new dam, and without an increase in supply, the council is reviewing its water security plan to identify alternative sources of raw water.
Mr Coe said determining and discussing different options with the state and federal governments is likely to take the next few years.
Small spots to stay on city water supply
It was unknown exactly how long residents had been drinking the contaminated water, but the timeframe is believed to be at least two years.
The increased levels of uranium were discovered at one bore in Kootingal and one in Bendemeer.
Mr Coe confirmed Moonbi and Kootingal were still being supplied by town water, and the bore was not in use.
"Council made the decision to basically mothball the bores," he said.
Mr Coe said the villages "will continue" to be supplied with water from the Calala plant.