AN attempt will be made next week to consider declaring Bathurst in a state of water emergency.
Councillor John Fry plans to move a motion at next week's ordinary meeting of council to embark on that process, saying it could put Bathurst in a better position to secure its water supply.
Bathurst Regional Council had been hoping to bolster the water supply with a water allocation from Oberon Dam and the Fish River scheme.
That proposal was rejected late last week by the NSW Government and the news has spurred on Cr Fry to pursue a declaration of water emergency in Bathurst.
"It was pending on the decision of the state government to sell us the water allocation, which the state government has rejected. That gives us less options for water, because that was one of our plan Bs," he said.
"Given that we won't be getting water from the Fish River, I'm going to put a motion up at the next meeting and that [declaration] would hopefully give us some leverage with the water projects."
Council has already been the recipient of several million dollars in drought funding from both the state and federal governments, but Cr Fry said it was still seeking funding available under the Safe and Secure Water Program.
Declaring Bathurst in a state of water emergency could increase council's chance of receiving funding and make it easier to get the projects it has put forward completed.
"It could put us in a better position to get funding and it should get us fast-tracked approvals through the government agencies," Cr Fry said.
As of October 8, Chifley Dam was at 46.4 per cent capacity, a little higher than the lowest the dam has been since the raising of the wall, which was 41 per cent.
While that is certainly better than some parts of NSW, where water is being trucked in, Cr Fry said more people could end up relying on Bathurst's water supply if "climate immigrants" from the west and north look to move to Bathurst to escape water crisises in their own towns.
"We've got to brace ourselves. We might become a temporary host to neighbours," he said.
Cr Fry has already spoken to council's director of Engineering Services about declaring Bathurst in a state of water emergency, who he said "understands why I am doing it".
He is hopeful that his fellow councillors will support the motion, as by now they should all be well aware of the severity of the drought.