Some growers in the Nelson Tasman region fear a proposal to build a dam to protect the region's water supply could ruin them financially.
A shortage of water on the Waimea Plains in summer means water allocations could be halved, and heavy water users such as fruit growers say this would hit them hard and could force some out of business.
After ten years of discussion, the proposed solution is for a dam to be built south of Richmond, and submissions on proposed changes to the Tasman District Council's water management provisions allowing the dam to be built, are now open.
The current proposal is for 70% of the funding to come from users, and the rest from local and central government. Water permit holders would have to pay $500 to $600 per hectare per year.
Lifestyle block owners, small farm owners and grape growers, who don't use much water, say the plan is unfair and could financially cripple them.