Millions set aside for water carting as 40 NSW towns have less than six months' water left

MILLIONS of dollars have been set aside to cart water to drought-stricken towns, as the NSW government revealed there are 40 towns across state with less than six months left of water.

Nine of those towns have populations of more than 500 people, such as Walcha and Tenterfield, while the water supply for dozens of other communities has been deemed "high risk", including the regional hubs of Tamworth, Dubbo, Orange and Bathurst.

The state government has already committed $2 million to help local councils cart water.

However, with the demand expected to increase exponentially, the government has made another $16.4 million available for water carting and emergency infrastructure costs.

The NSW Budget Estimates revealed the government has already spent close to a million dollars, helping Armidale Regional Council to cart water to Guyra.

NSW Regional Town Water Supply Coordinator James McTavish said the "major program" had seen the transportation of water between Malpas Dam and Gara Dam in Guyra, to top up the town's supply while the pipeline between the two water reservoirs was completed.

"The largest [water carting project] to probably note is the program that is being conducted between Scone and Murrurundi, which has been going for some time," Mr McTavish said.

"There are also smaller programs to smaller communities."

The Budget Estimates also revealed Deputy Prime Minister McCormack responded to a proposal from NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey, who requested to redirect $23 million of the $75 million committed to building Dungowan Dam in to more studies to get the project shovel ready.

Mr McCormack "invit[ed] a detailed submission to progress the proposal for a final business case".

The lengthy budget documents also disclosed an unsuccessfully funding bid for a water harvesting efficiency and security project.

The $2.4-million project was among a host of seven applications to the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund that were reject this year, with only two developments getting the tick of approval.

Towns of 500+ with less than six months of water

  • Cobar and Canbelego
  • Tenterfield
  • Coonabarabran
  • Bourke
  • Nyngan
  • Walgett (Raw water supply only)
  • Walcha
  • Murrurundi
  • Dunedoo
  • Stroud and Stroud Rd

Towns with high risk water supplies

  • Taree, Forster, Wingham, Pacific Palms
  • Orange, Spring Hill & Lucknow
  • Tamworth
  • Dubbo, Brocklehurst, Wongarbon, Eumungerie & Moriguy
  • Bathurst
  • Cobar and Canbelego
  • Tenterfield
  • Coonabarabran
  • Bourke
  • Nyngan
  • Walgett (Raw water supply only)
  • Walcha, Summervale
  • Murrurundi
  • Bribbaree
  • Girilambone
  • Coolabah
  • Nymagee
  • Caragabal
  • Byrock
  • Fifield
  • Oxley Village