The next stage of a project to store water in Wairarapa is expected to cost almost $4 million over three years.
The Wairarapa Water Use Project on Monday announced nine sites on mostly private land with potential for storage for irrigation and community use in case of another drought.
The project's leadership group - which includes the Wellington regional council, three district councils and iwi and irrigator representatives - says the scheme has the potential to irrigate 60,000 hectares of the Wairarapa plains.
Chairperson Fran Wilde says another survey is necessary to see which lake sites can be used.
Ms Wilde says 250 million to 300 million cubic metres of water is required to irrigate the plains each year.
The regional council says it is likely the entire project will take at least 10 years to complete.