Hawke's Bay Regional Council's investment company (HBRIC) says work on getting farmers to sign up to buy water from the proposed Ruataniwha Dam is on hold until the project's investor mix becomes clearer.
HBRIC has been looking for institutional investors to put money into the dam since Trustpower and Ngai Tahu pulled out in early 2014, saying the risks surrounding the dam were too high and the returns too low.
The company said it had countersigned contracts for 31 million cubic metres of water with a minimum of 45 million cubic metres needed to be sold to make construction financially viable.
It said finalising the investor mix for the Ruataniwha Dam was its current focus.
HBRIC said it was making good progress with potential investors, including two institutional investors, Crown Irrigation Investments and banks regarding debt funding.
A High Court ruling on a proposed land swap for the Ruataniwha Dam is also expected soon.
The Department of Conservation has agreed to deregister 22ha of protected conservation estate and swap it for 170 hectares of private farm land nearby.
The dam reservoir would flood the deregistered conservation land.
Forest and Bird told the court last year the Conservation Act had been misinterpreted and only enabled the exchange of stewardship land.