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Buy $24,000 of water? Tamworth Council votes tonight


The last Tamworth Council meeting for 2020 is packed with major decisions including if the city will purchase 24 megalitres of water on the open market.


The approximate cost is $24,000 and would be sourced from the Water Fund if approved by Councillors.


A report prepared by Daniel Coe, Manager Water Operations, says that the heatwave conditions experienced in early December set a new record of water use by Tamworth Moonbi and Kootingal residents.


A water reading on the 7th December showed Council had just 36.5ML of water available for extraction which is approximately 6 to 7 days of operation for wells numbered 3, 4, 5 and 6.


A significant concern of buying water on the open and temporary market is the fluctuation of price and general availability of water.


Tamworth Council's estimates are based on advice from local traders who say $100/ml is the current trading price and the amount required is available somewhere.


However, with Dungowan Dam sitting over 90% capacity since July and Chaffey Dam at a relatively healthy 33% why does Tamworth need to buy water?


Earlier this year the state's independent water regulator fined Tamworth Regional Council for over extracting the Scotts Road drift wells in the 2019/2020 season.


Due to this breach, Water NSW has put a discretionary condition on Tamworth's water extraction saying for the year 2020/2021 Tamworth must not extract more than 350ML.


Mr Coe's report to Council states that to enable this volume to be extracted Council must proceed with purchasing 240ML.


Mr Coe's report also states the purchase of additional water will cater to "both high demand periods and operational contingency".