The Hawke's Bay Regional Council has put a three month delay on its deadline for making a final decision on whether the Ruataniwha Dam should be built.
The council is about to launch a public consultation process on its proposal to invest $80 million of ratepayers' money in the large scale water storage and irrigation scheme.
The council's investment company has shifted the financial close deadline from 30 June to 30 September as it seeks to tie up some major loose ends.
They include persuading enough farmers to sign water contracts for construction to begin, finding a major institutional investor to replace Trustpower and determining whether strict resource consents still make the project viable.
The council has also agreed to spend $80,000 on consulting the public on the dam project.
The public will have until the 3 June to lodge a written submission on the investment proposal, before verbal submissions are heard from 16 June.