The Tasman District Council has provisionally agreed to provide project management support to get the Lee Valley Dam project to a point where the community, and the council, can decide if it is viable.
It is likely the work will cost around $200,000 annually.
Councillors, at their latest meeting, agreed the council would provide the required project management support, start talks with affected landowners and progress the draft plan change for the Waimea catchment.
The council's chief executive, Lindsay McKenzie, said a budget and likely funding sources for the work would be presented to the council early next year, when a final decision would be made.
He said commitment was being sought by the Waimea Water Augmentation Committee. The work required would include finalising construction cost estimates, applying for resource consents, undertaking the plan change, securing access to land, completing financial modelling and drawing up agreements around the roles and responsibilities of parties.
In his report to the council, Mr McKenzie said work on the project to date had been funded by government grants, a levy on Waimea catchment landowners, contributions from the Waimea East Irrigation Scheme irrigators and Fish & Game.
The project was estimated to cost $41.6 million in 2010. Estimates are now being reviewed.
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