A new $30 million commitment to plan and roll out an expansion of the bore field of drought-hit Dubbo could start improving the city's water security as early as next year.
But as Dubbo mayor Ben Shields welcomed the funding from the NSW government on Tuesday, he said he could not rule out tighter water restrictions.
"It's yet to be seen what happens over the summer period but without significant rain, yes we are certainly looking down the barrel of more water restrictions, severe water restrictions," Cr Shields said.
Dubbo MP Dugald Saunders visited the city's water treatment plant to announce $30 million across two years would flow to Dubbo Regional Council to both plan and "get projects happening as well".
It comes just weeks after the council introduced level two water restrictionsand as Burrendong Dam sits at 5.4 per cent.
Mr Saunders said with Dubbo being such a large centre, the government had decided to act.
"So the commitment is $30 million here today for Dubbo council to start investigating water, better usage, maybe more bores, deepening the current bores that are there, and looking at what some of the solutions could actually be over the next couple of years.
"...it will rain again... but there does need to be the preparation of adequate groundwater and other water supplies for the future."
The government also announced an emergency drought relief package, bringing the total funding to more than $1.8 billion to further support NSW's farmers and regional communities.
"After the election, the Premier and Deputy Premier both indicated regional areas would be a priority for this government, and I think this package shows that we are aware of the needs of rural towns and cities," Mr Saunders said.
The additional drought support will assist local farmers and businesses, including on-farm measures such as transport subsidies and waiving land rates, and off-farm measures to boost the local economy and support the community.
"I'm well aware of the effects this drought is having on regional economies, communities and families," Mr Saunders said.
"The extension of the Emergency Drought Relief package means more assistance for primary producers, more infrastructure to provide safe and secure water supplies, and investments aimed at stimulating the local economy.
"The social and economic viability of rural and regional communities in the Dubbo electorate remains my priority.
"We are all in this together."
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