A NEW dam along the Fish River could provide Bathurst with the long-term water security it is craving.
Councillor Warren Aubin has asked Bathurst Regional Council to consider the idea of constructing a dam on the Fish River to capture additional water for its residents.
The idea was sparked by concerns for the city's long-term water security, arising after Bathurst came dangerously close to running out of water in recent years.
Council is looking into a range of projects to secure Bathurst's water supply and Cr Aubin says a new dam should be one of the options.
"Whenever the Fish River has a good flow in it, we take our water out of there instead of [Chifley] Dam," he said.
"When I further investigated that, the catchment for the Fish River ... any of that easterly rain hanging over the Blue Mountains that we don't get, that falls and runs into the Fish River and that's why the Fish River is pretty much a really decent water supply all the time.
"We were using Fish River in our time of drought, last year when the dam was down to 40 or 30 per cent.
"It came to be that I thought why don't we investigate the possibility of placing a dam out there, with the Fish River being obviously the major contributor to flow into that dam to fill it?
"It just makes sense that we should be able to have a third dam to basically secure our water from."
While Cr Aubin said a third dam would be "absolutely amazing", he knows council would face major hurdles.
The biggest ones are the significant cost, likely in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and acquiring land.
"With building a dam, the land you would look at is probably in the Oberon shire, but in saying that, that's nothing that can't be overcome," Cr Aubin said.
"... The land you would look at - and it's a major, major project because it's not land that's council-owned, it'd be privately owned land that would have to be purchased - but just drawing a circle on the map you would envision you could build a dam that's similar capacity to Chifley."
A potential location he identified is around where Fish River meets the Macquarie and Campbells rivers, near Brewongle.
Cr Aubin had previously suggested raising the Chifley Dam wall again, which would be another high-cost project for council.
He hasn't abandoned that idea, but thinks a third dam could be more beneficial, regardless of the cost.
"How much dollar value do you put on water security for a city? It's just something that in the last few years has been top of our list to think about," Cr Aubin said.
"... If all the stars align and it is able to be done, then it should be looked at really, really seriously."
Council's director of Engineering Services, Darren Sturgiss, didn't dismiss the idea last month.
"Certainly that will be part of our our long-term plan. We've certainly got some short term projects in the mix. The Central JO and their various councils are involved in other medium-term projects, such a linking the various water storages," he said.
"But certainly further storage is not off the table, but would require significant investigation and environmental reports, et cetera, to bring it to fruition."