Councillors will be asked to consider whether they should push for the local government to own the pipeline from Chaffey Dam to Dungowan at Tuesday night's meeting. They will vote on whether council should continue to lobby the state government to have ownership of the pipeline from Chaffey Dam to the Dungowan Recreation Ground transferred to Tamworth Regional Council. A report in the business papers listed four reasons for such a decision. Firstly, that the pipeline only serves one customer - Tamworth Regional Council. Secondly, that council has "vast experience" owning, operating and maintaining large diameter, long pipelines which tied in with the third point made. In essence, council already owns and operates a pipeline from Split Rock Dam to the town of Barraba. Finally, if ownership of the new pipeline is not transferred to council, then an untenable situation would be created. Mayor Col Murray explained that would be the case as council owns the Dungowan pipeline, to which the Chaffey section connects meaning there are different owners of two parts of the same pipeline. He added it was important for council to be the owner to manage the water supply on a day-to-day basis. Cr Murray said council had formally written to the minister two weeks ago but had yet to receive a response. "It would be easier from our end of the equation with a bit quicker of a response, although these negotiations are usually very complex," he said. "The amount of money is quite high - it's a $44-million pipe ... the next stage of that pipeline is projected to be around $150 million. "Water NSW has a responsibility to government to return a dividend." The report to be tabled to council expressed the concern that if WaterNSW owns the pipeline, costs of water will increase further to reflect ownership of the asset and given the pipeline only serves one customer, the council would have to pay all these increased costs. The report concludes that council has limited options concerning this matter including – do nothing and accept what the NSW Government decides on, or continue to lobby for council ownership.
Melinda Pavey, Minister for Water, has been contacted for comment.