A Cook Islands landowner says if the government acted in good faith the delayed Te Mato Vai water system could be rebooted.
The scheme, to provide reticulated water on Rarotonga, was costing tens of millions of dollars with a significant slice of it coming from New Zealand aid.
Work had been stalled for some time with landowners unhappy at the government's approach.
One Avana land owner, Noeline Kainuku-Browne, said a critical issue were plans for user charges for residents.
She said they wanted the government to be more flexible and only charge for water once use hits a certain level, and apply this to all.
"By giving free water up to a certain level it is counting everybody, whether you are a foreign worker, a local worker, even a million dollar person who owns great resorts and huge businesses. Everybody has got a home, everybody can have free water up to a certain level."