A leading Hawke's Bay wine industry figure says sewage pouring into Hawke's Bay's rivers is a disgrace and potentially damaging to the region's food and beverage producers.
The group Friends of the Tukituki is threatening legal action if the Central Hawke's Bay District Council fails to meet new resource consents for discharging town sewage into the Waipawa and Tukituki rivers.
It says the brown smelly discharge currently going into the rivers is unacceptable.
The council says the discharge is within its resource consent and it's confident a new sewerage plant operating by October will discharge crystal clear water.
Te Mata Estate Winery chair John Buck says the council should be sorting the problem now. He says Hawke's Bay has built an enviable reputation for the quality of its wide-ranging produce, including sheep, cattle, grain, fruit, berries and wine.
Mr Buck says any visual evidence that the environment from which the produce is grown is somehow polluted undermines the whole economic credibility of Hawke's Bay.