The Government is investing $800,000 from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) to look into a "reliable water supply" for the Wairarapa.
Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau made the funding announcement today
The investment will go towards investigating the development and construction of a community water storage in Wakamoekau, northwest of Masterton on the Ruamāhanga River.
"The water supply is becoming unpredictable in the region, particularly during the summer months," Mr Tabuteau said in a statement.
"Without it local businesses relying on water could be increasingly impacted, limiting their ability to operate and grow in the region."
The cash injection will go towards Wairarapa Water Limited to support a review and update of a 2015 pre-feasibility study investigating six potential water schemes in the region, with the Wakamoekau water storage option being the most favourable, he said.
The study will "identify and address risks to the region's long-term ability to further develop economic opportunities and the primary industries sector." Once completed, the Wakamoekau project will "progress the next stage, which includes feasibility planning."
The water storage is expected to help improve the Wairarapa's apple industry. Research shows that "an additional 1000 hectares of apples can expect to generate 1300 more jobs and $81 million a year in GDP for the region" over the next 25 years, Mr Tabuteau said.
"To make this happen, a reliable water supply will be needed. This project has the potential to provide up to 18 million cubic litres of stored water for the region to be used in a time of need."
The water supply would also go towards "increased land diversification to higher value, less resource intensive horticulture and agriculture, attract new industries to the region, supplement domestic water supply, and mitigate the impacts of drought."