Council’s Drought Management Plan is reviewed either:

  • Every 5 years; or
  • After a significant drought

In December 2020 Council endorsed a recommendation to review it’s Drought Management Plan when water restrictions reached Level 2 or below across the region.

It also endorsed a recommendation to conduct a survey to gain feedback from residents on how the most recent drought had impacted them and their water usage once water restrictions reached Level 3 or below across the region.

With these two triggers being reached within a short period of time we are now taking a phased approach to the review of the Plan.

The Drought Management Plan Review Process

The first phase of the Drought Management Plan Review process

About the survey

The survey is being conducted over the phone and online.

If you complete the survey online and receive a phone call to complete the survey please let the operator know.

The survey consists of 42 questions and takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.

Questions are focused on behaviours, impact of behaviours, attitudes to restrictions, awareness and communications, Council's performance, and the future.

The survey is being conducted by Australian market and social research company NewFocus.

Why we are completing the survey

At the Ordinary Council Meeting held on Tuesday 13 October 2020 Council endorsed a recommendation to undertake a detailed post drought community water survey as part of an upcoming comprehensive review of the current Drought Management Plan.

The feedback collected from this survey will be used in the review of Council’s Drought Management Plan which will be completed this year.

We encourage all residents to take the time to complete the survey and use this opportunity to share their most recent experiences with drought and water usage.

This is phase two.

Council will engage consultant, HunterH20, to help develop a new Drought Management Plan.

The new plan will take into consideration what in the current plan did and did not work during the most recent drought and the feedback received during the pre-Drought Management Plan review survey.

This is phase three.

The draft Plan will be presented to Council in late June. Following its endorsement by Council the Plan will go on Public Exhibition.

During the Public Exhibition period (expected to be six weeks) Council will undertake extensive community consultation. This will include community meetings in Barraba, Manilla, Attunga, Tamworth, Bendemeer and Nundle.


Following the Public Exhibition period Council staff and Hunter H20 will make revisions to the draft Plan based on the feedback received.

The final Plan will then be presented to Council for adoption.

Once adopted the plan will become the new playbook for how Council manages its town water supplies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Imagine Chaffey Dam, our largest water source, is a bucket and each customer has a cup.

Each year in April the NSW Government lets every customer of Chaffey Dam, so irrigators, farmers, high security users, the environment, and us, know how much we can fill up our cup from the bucket.

This process is called the AWD – available water determination.

So, each customer fills up their cup with the amount they are allocated. Throughout the year we each use a different amount from our cup. Some use it all and some don’t.

When it comes time for the AWD the next year we all pour the water left in our cups back into the bucket. From here the Government gives us all a new allocation based on the total amount of water in the bucket at that time.

So essentially if we introduced water restrictions earlier to save more water one year there is no guarantee that the water we have saved will be there for us in future years when we might need it.

The current Drought Management Plan was adopted in 2015 and then revised in 2016 when the Chaffey Dam augmentation was completed.

Council does not currently know what allocation it will receive from the new Dungowan Dam.

The new Plan will not take into consideration the new Dungowan Dam but once it is built or allocations are made then a revision can be made to the Plan as it was in 2016 when Chaffey Dam was augmented.

Quick Fact Videos

These short videos help explain some of the key points related to the Drought Management Plan review.