ONLY time will tell how seriously Bathurst Regional Council takes its response to a call to declare a state of water emergency for the region, but the signs so far aren't great.
Greens councillor John Fry plans to raise the issue through a notice of motion at next week's monthly meeting, saying such a declaration could put Bathurst in a better position to secure its water supply.
The move comes just a week after the state government blocked a proposal by council to source water from Oberon Dam to shore up the local water supply over summer and days before the region introduces extreme water restrictions from Monday.
Cr Fry acknowledges that Bathurst is in a better position with regards to water security than many other regional centres (Ben Chifley Dam is currently sitting at around 46 per cent and holding, for now), but he says the region must prepare for the possibility of "climate immigrants" as conditions worsen in the west and north of the state.
"We've got to brace ourselves. We might become a temporary host to neighbours," he said.
Cr Fry also believes the declaration could make it easier for Bathurst to access government drought funding and he hopes other councillors will support his motion. Fair enough, but he should not hold his breath.
The reality is, Cr Fry sits on the wrong side of the numbers on a very divided council following last month's mayoral vote that saw Bobby Bourke win the top job.
And this council does not have a great track record in taking decisions that risk highlighting any concerns over Bathurst's water security, particularly after decades of council spruiking water security as one of the region's great attractions to potential new residents and businesses. But that might also be part of Cr Fry's motive.
When councillors were crunching the numbers during lobbying for the mayoral vote, a consistent argument for those opposing Cr Bourke was that his bloc did not understand the severity of the water crisis the region is facing.
And more than once it was pointed out that Cr Bourke and three of his supporters - councillors Ian North, Alex Christian and Warren Aubin - all voted against the introduction of Level 3 water restrictions just 12 months ago.
Cr Fry might want to remind those councillors - and voters - of that inconvenient truth, and his notice of motion might make it a little more inconvenient still.