Water users in Central Hawke's Bay could receive $50,000 from ratepayers to help them prepare ahead of new water restrictions, feared to leave their businesses "struggling to survive".
This year new minimum-flow and allocation limits under the Hawke's Bay Regional Council's Tukituki catchment-focused plan change - Plan Change Six (PC6) - come in.
There had been reliance on the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme (RWSS) to provide water security, so when this was dropped the rural community implored the council for "more time", or support.
After twice agreeing PC6 needed to progress as planned, the council agreed to support the approach taken by a CHB surface water group to find solutions to access water within the PC6 framework.
Group representative Alastair Haliburton had asked for the council's financial support as they engaged Aqualinc to develop a proposal for a collective community plan.
"We're having to re-create a plan in the post-Ruataniwha environment, because Ruataniwha was the plan prior to that," he said yesterday.
Their community plan would help surface water consent holders meet the new requirements, and was expected to be more cost effective, and better for the environment than every affected user coming up with their own plan.
At a regional council meeting this week council chief executive James Palmer said that after receiving and reviewing the proposal, the council was finalising discussions about offering the group $50,000 for the $65,000 project.
It asked the remaining $15,000 be funded by the group, or with help from other organisations.
Mr Palmer said there was some disappointment the council would not fund it entirely, but this was an un-budgeted item.
"It doesn't seem unreasonable for me if these are multimillion-dollar enterprises that have hundreds of thousands of dollars at risk from the minimum flows that they can find $15,000 between themselves."
Mr Haliburton said the group was trying "under urgency" to complete funding so it could make a start on the project.
"Time is of the essence, because from the outset we've had to progress this with urgency."
It is understood Aqualinc would be ready to start when the funding was resolved.
It was expected the new restrictions would have a "severe" impact on the agriculture-driven district.