Farmers and growers in Marlborough will soon have use of an online tool that tells them how much water they can use on a given day.
The council is grappling with an increasing strain on water supplies, with projections for demand and the effects of climate change showing it is likely to get worse.
A new cloud-based digital system, from which users will be able to download information to a portable device, was presented to councillors at a meeting in Blenheim yesterday.
Gerald Hope of the council's environment committee said the tool would allow real-time information that would lead to better use of water.
"What I also really like is that ... there's been an issue with large applications not using their full intake of water, so what do you do with it? It sits in the bank.
"From an irrigator's point of view, you can talk to your neighbour or the fella down the road and say 'look, I'm sure you've got a surplus volume, can we do a deal?'
"It's there and it's available, and the council will permit that."
He said the public would benefit from the efficient use of water.
"We all need water, whether you're a plant or a human being."
The tool needed further testing, but the council was hoping to get it in farmers' hands within the next year.
"The timeline is most probably the sooner the better, but could be some months or a year away ... it has to be adopted by industry, which is crucial."
The online tool had been trialled by several vineyard managers, said Mr Hope.