A report just released suggests that cleaning up the Waikato River will cost more than $1 billion.
The report, written by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) for the newly formed Waikato River Authority, is a scoping study on the state of the river and options for restoring its health.
It says the cleanup could cost anywhere between $1 billion and nearly $5 billion .
The Government has allocated $210 million to a clean-up fund administered by the authority.
Waikato Regional Council chair Peter Buckley, who is also a member of the river authority, says that while the money is a far cry from the estimated cost of a clean-up, the job and cost will be shared between local and central government and industry.
Mr Buckley says final decisions on what has to be done to clean up the river are a long way off.