Walcha Council will push ahead with their own plans says mayor

At the existing Dungowan Dam on Sunday for the announcement of the $480M project to build a new dam
At the existing Dungowan Dam on Sunday for the announcement of the $480M project to build a new dam

When asked if Sunday's announcement regarding the Dungowan Dam boded well for Walcha's quest for dam infrastructure funding Walcha Mayor Eric Noakes said the council was not expecting any funding for water storage from that source.

"We continue to work closely with the NSW Government in seeking funding for this project and are receiving encouraging feedback," he said.

"We are currently moving forward with the planning, utilising the recently announced $1.5M Walcha allocation from emergency funding."

Eric Noakes

Eric Noakes

We are currently moving forward with the planning

Eric Noakes

The first new dam to be built in NSW in close to 30 years will be constructed in the Dungowan valley near Tamworth in an almost half-a-billion dollar plan by the state and federal governments. The new 22.5 gigalitre storage will be built about 3km downstream from the current Dungowan Dam, which is owned by Tamworth Council.

The $480 million project was announced on Sunday in a whirlwind tour of the current dam with Prime Minister Scott Morrison flying into Tamworth, flanked by NSW Premier Gladys Berejikilian, her deputy John Barilaro, as well as Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, and New England MP Barnaby Joyce.

You couldn't wipe the smile off the face of Tamworth mayor, Col Murray, who said council had already "acquired all of the properties" for the multi-million-dollar project over the past four years, and "continue to acquire properties downstream that may be effected by a potential dam".

Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson rejected claims the decision was rushed, while conceding there was "a lot of detail and a lot of planning still to come".

The state government will pay for the majority of the project; half of the federal government contribution will come in the form of a loan to NSW.

Tamworth Regional Council will have a significant stake in the project, having bought all of the necessary land around Terrible Billy Creek.

Mr Anderson was absent for the historic announcement on Sunday, but he confirmed on Monday the state would build the dam.

Whether it becomes a NSW government asset remains to be seen.

"Let's get the planning under way first," he said.

"Let's get the dozers in the ground, let's start building this dam and, as the weeks progress, further plans and details will emerge."

At Sunday's announcement, Premier Gladys Berejiklian wouldn't reveal which level of government would control the water the new dam would yield.

The current Dungowan Dam may be partially decommissioned to make way for the new dam.

Tamworth Regional Council water director Bruce Logan said early investigations revealed the expanded 22.5-gigalitre dam would increase the city's yearly water capacity by about six gigalitres.

On an average year without water restrictions, Tamworth uses about 10 gigalitres.

Mr Logan said the future of the current dam wasn't clear, but there were some safety issues.