Hawke's Bay Regional Council is investigating the feasibility of large water reservoirs to store water to meet future needs more effectively.
Chairman Alan Dick says the council is investigating potential sites for dams and reservoirs in central Hawke's Bay on the Ruataniwha Plain, around and south of Waipawa and Waipukerau.
Six potential sites have been identified under a 10 year plan which was recently adopted.
Mr Dick says the council is not looking at damming rivers.
The council expects to finish an economic and environmental cost-benefit analysis of these, by May.
However, Mr Dick says it could be more than a year before the council makes a decision on whether or not to go ahead with the project.
The study is focused on the Ruataniwha Plain which has about 25,000 hectares of land that could be irrigated if the water was available.
Federated Farmers says there's huge potential for making better use of the region's water resources.
Water issues spokesperson Hugh Ritchie says Hawke's Bay uses only about 3% of the water that lands in the catchment