Farmers are right behind a decision by Hawke's Bay Regional Council to go ahead with a detailed feasibility study of water storage options in central Hawke's Bay.
The council will investigate a number of potential dam and reservoir sites to supply irrigation water for the Ruataniwha Plains, stretching around and south of Waipawa and Waipukerau.
Federated Farmers Hawke's Bay president, Kevin Mitchell says more than 80%, or 30,000 hectares of the plains, is not irrigated and bringing water to that area makes strong economic sense. He says the return is 8:1.
Between six and 15 sites have been identified.
The regional council envisages spending almost $900,000 on the two year study. It says the Ministry of Agriculture has also committed considerable funding and advisory support.