Ratepayers are demanding Armidale Regional Council extend the wall of Malpas Dam wall to avoid future critical water shortages.
The issue will take priority at the Armidale Regional Ratepayers Association (ARRA) annual general meeting on Monday, February 22 at 6pm at the Armidale Bowling Club which will be attended by Mayor Ian Tiley and General Manager James Roncon.
Chairperson Richard Makim said it had been an oversight or overconfidence in business as usual and the reliable tablelands rainfall to have allowed so much development without addressing the water issue.
"Not only do we require urgent action on extending the Malpas Dam wall but also for council to research other options such as water recycling and bringing in water from other sources," he said.
"There are now far greater demands placed on Malpas dam due to significant horticultural businesses drawing on it.
"Council also needs to improve its communication with the community on water issues and to look at recycling green and woody waste into the soil to improve the resilience of urban parks and gardens," he said.
ARRA was part of the campaign to prevent the council from recommending to APRA the top rate rise of 18.5 per cent for the region until council demonstrated greater fiscal responsibility and accountability.
"There's no point in throwing good money after bad," Mr Makim said. "Although there will be an 8.5 per cent rate rise it is much better than 18.5 per cent. "One of the major problems we face on this and other issues is that the region lacks a common shared vision and the necessary strategic planning to achieve sustainable growth.
"It's council's job to take a leadership role in this but it has wasted many opportunities and lost the confidence of the community through incompetence and infighting.
"The ballot in September will give the community the chance to elect councillors capable of taking a united front to meet the challenges we face."
Mr Makim said that despite the movement for Guyra to de-amalgamate from Armidale it was still necessary for the two communities to work closely together for the benefit of the region.