Claims that HBRIC has breached a Board of Inquiry consent condition have been dismissed by Hawke's Bay Regional Council chairman Fenton Wilson.
The issue, first raised by Councillor Tom Belford, is set to be addressed at this week's council meeting and has in turn raised safety concerns about the construction of the dam.
The consent that has allegedly been breached is under clause 875 of the Final Report and Decisions of the Board of Inquiry into the Tukituki Catchment Proposal Volume 1 of 3: Report and Decisions.
"For those reasons the board has revised the conditions relating to the construction of the dam to ensure that all further investigations, design, construction, operation, maintenance are independently reviewed by a panel of at least three independent experts at appropriate milestones," the report reads.
Mr Belford says this condition has been breached because, to his knowledge, no independent panel has formed to review any part of the dam construction.
"My view is they have [breached conditions]," he said, noting he does not believe the dam design has ever been reviewed by an independent panel.
He believed the reason the BOI gave for such a panel needing to exist was because the dam was being built on or near fault lines and that they arrived at this decision after weighing up public concern about this issue.
"And that panel has not been created, [it] has not reviewed the design work for this dam," he said.
"Exactly what the board wanted was a review of the design. That is what is going to make people nervous or not as to whether it is adequately safe."
While Mr Wilson dismissed the breach, he said he was not "entirely sure" as to whether or not an independent panel had conducted any reviews.
"I am not entirely sure on that and that is a question I have for the meeting," he said.
"[However], I don't believe it is a BOI breach as such, [but] more a timing issue."
Mr Wilson also questioned whether such a panel would have anything to review.
"We have got a very nearly completed design contract but we still haven't seen that as a condition precedent yet to sign to off 100 per cent," he said.
According to the council meeting agenda Resource Management Group manager Iain Maxwell responded to questions about whether or not the water storage scheme was meeting BOI condition requirements.
"Staff are working with Matt Conway from Simpson Grierson to clarify the requirements of the consent conditions for the [Ruataniwha dam] in relation to the two panels," he said, referring to the dam construction expert panel and the independent review panel.
Mr Maxwell said it was clear from both discussions with Mr Conway and the consent condition wording there was a degree of duplication between the two panels.
"We are working through with Matt [as to] what is required for HBRIC to satisfy these conditions," he said.
When asked for further information, Mr Maxwell said while the council did not consider at this stage that there has been any breach of the Board of Inquiry consent conditions, it had not been advised of the appointment of an independent panel of experts.
"Therefore there is no information on the name, organisation and area of expertise of each appointed independent expert, on planned milestones, on reviews to date, nor on the independent review process."
Mr Maxwell said the council was "acutely aware" of the board's intent, to ensure that dam safety was given paramount consideration.