Cash splash possible: NSW govt doesn't have to wait for water study

TIMELINE: Water Minister Melinda Pavey said the government won't have to wait on the study results to splash cash about for water infrastructure.
TIMELINE: Water Minister Melinda Pavey said the government won't have to wait on the study results to splash cash about for water infrastructure.

The state government doesn't have to wait to finish a water study before pledging money for a new water supply for Tamworth, the minister has revealed.

Previously, MPs have said a water upgrade hinged on a study, the Namoi Regional Water Strategy, which is due to be handed down by the end of 2020, but minister Melinda Pavey's spokesperson said that wasn't the case.

Tamworth mayor Col Murray welcomed the news, along with the NSW government's renewed interest in the potential upgrade of Dungowan Dam.

"One of the encouraging things is the dialogue that's now happening between our water professionals and WaterNSW, there has been lots of information sharing recently," Cr Murray said.

"Over time, council has done a lot of investigations and studies that haven't really been picked up by WaterNSW, but they are looking at that information now."

While the state government has been hesitant to bankroll the Dungowan upgrade, council has been working hard behind the scenes, making sure that all their ducks are in a row should the government come to the table.

"Over the last four years, council bought all the properties between the existing site and the new site, so we own all the necessary land now," Cr Murray said.

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New England MP Barnaby Joyce has been pushing the NSW government to act on the upgrade, given the federal government has already committed $75 million to the project.

He encouraged the state government to get the ball rolling on the project, estimated to cost $484m, with some minor works, such as footings and access roads.

"I talked to [Tamworth MP] Kevin Anderson yesterday to reinforce this," Mr Joyce said.

"A pipeline is great, but it's just an efficient way of moving water around. What we really need is a bigger dam.

"This drought has made it quite apparent that water security in a place like Tamworth means more water storage."