For over 20 years Central Tablelands Water have been lobbying various state governments to have the height of the dam wall at Lake Rowlands raised to the level of its original design.
Now as part of the NSW state government's response to the ongoing drought across the state, funding has been announced for the commencement of a $1 million feasibility study into raising the wall an extra 2.2 metres.
The dam wall was originally designed to be three metres higher than it currently is, but a decision by Forbes Council at the time of construction to not be a part of the CTW supply led to a decision to construct a smaller dam, essentially half the size of what it should have been.
At an announcement at Lake Rowlands attended by Member for Bathurst Paul Toole and Nationals MLC, Sam Farraway, general manager of CTW Gavin Rhodes said that the project is the first of three stages to increase water security across the network.
"Stage one involves raising the height of the existing dam wall by 2.2 metres which will increase the capacity from 4.5 gigalitres to 8 gigalitres," Mr Rhodes said.
"The second stage is the linking of Lake Rowlands to Carcoar Dam of which a final business case is currently underway by WaterNSW.
"The final stage and longer term project is a new dam further downstream increasing the capacity to over 26 gigalitres."
CTW's chairman and Blayney shire councillor David Somervaille said that raising the dam wall by 2.2 metres rather than the original three would allow for a quick decision and the rapid start of construction once approved.
"At this level there wouldn't be any need for any land acquisitions because all the land surrounding the dam is owned by CTW," he said.
"It also wouldn't impact on the Neville Road and the Darrington Bridge."
Mr Rhodes said that CTW had already begun preliminary studies into raising the wall and with that information at hand they would be able to begin community consultation early in 2020.
"We estimate that we should have the engineering designs finalised and the business case all completed by the middle of next year," he said.
"Our initial estimates put the cost of the construction of the new wall at around $10 million with completion being around 18 months to two years."