The Government has appointed the members of a board of inquiry into the Ruataniwha water storage project, which is seen as a test case for other proposed water storage projects around the country.
The Board by-passes the Environment Court process in the consideration of resource consents for what would be the biggest dam construction in 20 years.
The $600 million project has Government backing as part of its economic development plan to provide water storage for more intensive farming such as dairying.
However, there is community concern is reported about the cost of the scheme to ratepayers and potentially negative environmental impact.
The five members of the board are: Justice Lester Chisholm and lawyers Russell Howie, Loretta Lovell, Alec Neill and Matthew Lawson.