Irrigators in the Tasman district say that the Government and local developers need to come to the party to help pay for a dam for the Lee Valley.
A new report released to the council this week has recommended that neither of the two proposed funding models for the Waimea Community Dam should be adopted.
There has been fierce opposition to the proposals in recent weeks, which has called for 30 percent of the $80 million cost to be met by ratepayers.
The council has now been advised that is unfair and unaffordable.
But irrigators users have said the money will need to come from somewhere, as a dam is still a priority.
An apple grower in the Waimea Plains, David Easton, said his business like many others was in desperate need of a guaranteed supply of water.
"I think the sun will come up tomorrow and it will go down tomorrow, and I think a dam is required. For us to build a dam for ourselves, for our own needs to store water for guaranteed supply in the Waimea Plains, would probably cost us something like five to 10 times as much as building a dam up the Lee Valley," he said.
"Some of the people that have made comments about storing water, and building dams and weirs... I've been living this for ten years and looking at the science and there's just no way those options are anywhere near viable for the volumes of water that are needed."