Bore water consultant Hydroilex has informed Armidale Regional Council at a recent meeting that its preliminary, desktop investigation into possible ground water supplies had identified a number of promising sites for Guyra, but Armidale's outlook seemed entirely different.
A desktop study of the region's subsurface rock formations and records of existing bores, identified a number of locations in the Guyra district that may be suitable for groundwater supplies with adequate water flow and quality.
"Despite the relatively short distance between Guyra and Armidale, Hydroilex has found the geology between the two areas is markedly different," Mayor Simon Murray said.
"The consultant has expressed cautious optimism about the potential of several sites, and we will act quickly to seek the necessary approvals for testing at these locations.
"The study's preliminary investigations for the Armidale district have not been quite [as] successful in revealing promising sites, but the search is continuing."
Council CEO Susan Law said the "cautious optimism" related to the area around Guyra more than it did for Armidale.
"We don't know about the quantities of water that might be there," she said.
"Until the drilling is completed we can't be sure there is water there. I think we are working on the basis that this will be a backup supply.
"I am told that it is doubtful if it will ever be a complete supply for the Armidale - Guyra region."
Mrs Law thought the outlook for Armidale remained very serious.
"The long-range forecast for the Armidale region for summer is for average rainfall at best, and really we need an above average rainfall to make any difference," she said.
The BoM spring (September to November) climate outlook, issued on August 15, indicated a drier than average season for most of mainland Australia.
Spring maximum temperatures were likely to be warmer than average, except in the southeast, which had a 50-50 chance of warmer or cooler than average days. More cloud-free days and nights were expected and there remained an increased risk of spring frost in susceptible areas.
"We are planning for continued drought conditions," Mrs Law said.
"If it rains, that's fantastic, but are planning for continued drought conditions, and also looking at the longer-term and hoping we can put in measures so that we are not in this position again."
Cr Murray said ground water reserves could help buy time while we wait for the drought to break.
"Obviously the most valuable thing we can all do now is minimise our water consumption to make the remaining supplies last as long as possible," he said.
He said an engineering solution, such as drilling bores and connecting that water to the town supply, would come at a massive cost.
"However, we are investigating all those realistic options so our residents and businesses continue to have water for essential activities," he said.