Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen is lobbying to build a new dam as part of a plan to drought-proof the region for generations to come.
The proposed 450 gigalitre Camerons Dam would be built on the drought-stricken Pages River near the 1335 hectare Camerons Gorge Nature Reserve between Murrurundi and Scone.
The project, which would have the equivalent capacity as the ill-fated Tillegra Dam proposal, has been on the books since the early 1980s.
Water NSW costed the project 2018 at $897 million as part of the 20 Year Infrastructure Options Study.
Mr Johnsen said on Monday that he had pitched the project to water minister and National Party colleague Melinda Pavey.
"I have asked for this project to be a priority," he said.
"I think there is a much greater appreciation of the need to have secure water storages than there has been in the past."
Ms Pavey was unavailable for comment on Monday.
Upper Hunter Shire mayor Wayne Bedggood said the council would welcome any new investment to improve water security.
"We would certainly be keen to participate in a conversation about water storages if that's what they are planning," he said.
If it goes ahead it would be the first dam built in the region since the construction of Glennies Greek Dam in the early 1980s.
A new dam project would ordinarily need to be subject to extensive environmental and planning assessments before approval. However, the government recently indicated it was willing to fast-track some of those processes in order to get critical water infrastructure built.
Mr Johnsen said the dam would supplement the 750 gigalitre Glenbawn Dam and 283 gigalitre Glennies Creek Dam.
The Lower Hunter would also benefit through improved connectivity between the two regions.
Hunter Water is presently working on a business case to build a pipeline between the Lower Hunter and Singleton as part of a range of measures outlined in the 2018 Greater Hunter Region Water Strategy.
Mr Johnsen's push follows the weekend announcement of 50/50 state-federal government investment to deliver a $650million upgrade of Wyangala Dam in the NSW central west and a $480 million new Dungowan Dam near Tamworth. There would also be funding to allow progress for critical town water projects across NSW.
But Nature Conservation Council chief executive Chris Gambian described the Camerons Gorge proposal as "madness".
"The NSW environment department has described Camerons Gorge Nature Reserve, which will be affected by this proposal, as a crucial vegetation corridor linking the Great Escarpment, the Liverpool Range to Coolah Tops.
"Governments have spent millions creating these sorts of corridors. It would be madness to destroy one to build a white elephant like Cameron's Dam.
Mr Gambian said the dam proposal would do nothing to solve the current water crisis.
"Building a new dam at the top of the catchment on the Pages River, which is currently does not flow, will not solve the Upper Hunter's water crisis," he said.
"The fundamental problem is that we extract too much water from our rivers for big business and use it carelessly. We also have failed to tackle climate change, which is making the problem far worse.
"We need to live within our means when it comes to water. Making more dams drives us deeper into water debt."
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