With a recent independent review of the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme complete and the Hawke's Bay Regional Council set to consider further information about investing in the project, Hawke's Bay mayors are calling for progress.

Napier mayor Bill Dalton said the dam would benefit the whole of Hawke's Bay and enough time had been spent looking at the proposal.

"Just get on and build it. It's the one single thing that in my lifetime will be a complete game changer for Hawke's Bay's economy."

He acknowledged that the recent review report had identified some areas of risk, but said there would always be risk with a project such as this.


"If you try to eliminate all of them it will never be built.

"That's the job of the management team - to minimise and mitigate those risks - you don't not go ahead with something like this just because there are risks.

"This dam would provide irrigation to allow crops to be grown in CHB we have not even thought about yet, and all of that produce will go through the Port of Napier to be exported.

"The benefits will flow for CHB farmers and producers to the processing industries, the workers for which will come from across all of Hawke's Bay."

Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule said $25 million had been spent on the project to date and that it needed to happen.

"The thorough peer review has set some new boundaries around such things as water takes but it did not find any unknowns.

"If you look at what's going to happen with climate change and opportunities around food production I think this is a no-brainer."

Industrial land that had been freed up by the Hastings council, such as at Irongate, was already being eyed by people keen to set up value-added businesses, but they were waiting for certainty, he said.


"Some people have been holding off on their decision-making regards that land until they understand what's happening with the scheme."

Mr Yule said he had every confidence in the regional council's and the farmers' technical ability to adapt so that the nutrient and environmental risks were managed.

Central Hawke's Bay mayor Alex Walker said it was a transformational project that would benefit the whole region from Central Hawke's Bay to the Port of Napier.

"This is about diversification, not just doing the same old thing - it's about diversifying the way we use land, coupled with environmental management, and consequently the markets we operate in.

"It's an opportunity to be bold in an area that the whole of New Zealand is working on - we have a chance to lead in this space."

Tomorrow the regional council will consider whether to reconfirm, or accept some modified and new conditions precedents before making a decision about its intended investment in the scheme.

The project was currently still in front of the Supreme Court over a proposal to exchange some Department of Conservation land for the dam.