Environment Minister Nick Smith has thrown his weight behind a plan to give the Waikoropupū Springs in Golden Bay the equivalent of National Park status.
The local iwi asked for a Water Conservation Order after the Tasman District Council announced it would raise the water take in the area, sparking fears it would harm the water quality.
It is the largest freshwater spring in the country and contain some of the world's clearest water.
"Water conservation orders are a very powerful tool for protecting special water bodies," Mr Smith said.
"I think anybody who knows the Waikoropupū Springs would say 'well that would be a no-brainer'.
"The final decision will be made by the Minister for the Environment, myself, but it goes to a tribunal. If the tribunal's decision is disputed it can go the Environment Court."
A tribunal will be appointed next month and the legal process is expected to take about a year, Mr Smith said.