A potential new main water source for Napier has been found in Meeanee.
Drilling of an exploratory bore at the site on Sandy Rd began at the end of last week and is expected to take a further three weeks to reach the required depth of 120 metres.
Dirty water issues have been linked to water with higher manganese levels, which oxidises when combined with chlorine to create dirty water.
The two key bores that source much of Napier's water supply have higher manganese levels.
Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise said the new site, which has shown potential as a water source with low manganese levels, could ease the Napier's dirty water issues.
"As a council we have committed to water being our number one priority, and I am pleased that we are able to break ground on this project," she said.
According to Napier City Council, if further testing during the drilling process continues to show low manganese levels, a main bore will be drilled at Sandy Rd by Hawke's Bay company Honnor Drilling.
A budget of $650,000, out of a proposed $40m to be spent over the next three years on drinking water infrastructure, has been placed on the project.
This larger bore will be tested to see if it can perform as a master bore.
If it can pump enough from the aquifer to supply Napier and has no negative effect on existing bores in the area, it will become a major water supply for Napier.
Sustainable Napier Committee chair Keith Price said: "It's great to see this project, one of the key ones from our Water Supply Master Plan, start to take shape."
The project has been delayed because of Covid-19, but if the new main bore passes all the required tests, the council could apply to Hawke's Bay Regional Council early next year to switch the new bore on and turn off "A1" and "C1" bores.
The new low manganese bore could then be connected to the water network and begin operating.
Councillor Nigel Simpson said water projects will feature heavily over the next few years.
"It is a positive step forward in remedying the issues in our drinking water network," he said.