After months of campaigning from residents and politicians, the environmental flows from Chaffey Dam will be stopped to preserve critical water supplies during one of the worst droughts on record.
Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said the breakthrough has come after a series of meetings with the NSW Government and key local stakeholders.
“An emergency plan of management has been put in place for the next four months and it recognises the dire situation that all water users face in the Peel Valley," he said.
“While significant rain has fallen around the region, very little has found its way in Chaffey Dam.
"The current water level is at 14 per cent and Tamworth remains on strict Level 5 water restrictions."
Mr Anderson thanked NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey, and NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean, for listening to local water user groups, community members and Tamworth Regional Council.
“As part of the new arrangement, environmental flows from Chaffey Dam will cease immediately and the water allocated for the environment will be held back in the dam," he said.
“The Department of Planning Industry and Environment will monitor the health of the Peel River including several deep pools that are home to fish, frogs and platypus as well as other aquatic wildlife.
“The new measure will be reviewed in October and will provide the opportunity to monitor and evaluate the impacts of the operation as well as the function of new $42m pipeline providing water directly to Tamworth from Chaffey Dam."
Mr Anderson said the new arrangement will provide greater water security for the region.