There was a lot of talk about adding five metres to the height of a half-full Malpas Dam on Wednesday morning during deputy-Premier John Barilaro's visit to inspect the dam and the pipeline to Guyra, with Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall and a group of assorted council staff and Councillors.
Mr Barilaro admitted his government was dictated to by Green ideology.
"There is no doubt, that in Australia, governments of the past, stuck on Green ideology, being lectured to by the lefties and the Greenies that we shouldn't be building dams; well, today we are paying the price," Mr Barilaro said.
"If you look at what we've done over the past eight years, firstly, our delivery, our investment in regional NSW has been significant. Our focus has been on the issues that have been important.
"Water security for regional communities will continue to be a big issue."
Mr Barilaro thought there was far too much green tape
"If we don't change the culture within government, and I'll take responsibility for our bit, but it's not just on us. We need to get on making sure we have to build dams not just deliver reports," Mr Barilaro said.
"The drought is biting, we know that average rainfalls are down, inflows to the river system is down and there is no question that rainfall will continue to be on the low side."
Mr Barilaro said the government would be open to seeing Malpas Dam become more of a regional storage instead of a local storage, once the engineering, design and costings were done.
Mr Marshall estimated the cost of the project as being anywhere between $40-$60 million.
"I don't think we need to build new dams when it could be more cost effective to increase the size of what we've already got," Mr Marshall said.
"It's great to be able to bring the Deputy Premier to the region ... to not only see what is being achieved with the $13 million pipeline to Guyra, but also continue a discussion around what more can be done to improve our region's water security."
Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray said he liked what he was hearing.
"It's a good opportunity for the deputy-Premier to come here and see our current situation, and explain to him the situation with the dam level and our concerns in the future," he said.