A reconnaissance survey for a pipeline route that could bring water to the Kakanui Valley is under way.
The project is in a business case phase, with the North Otago Irrigation Company (NOIC) compiling available options, financial costs and project planning.
An informed decision on stage two will be made later this year.
The survey work is being carried out for NOIC by Geoff O'Neill and Cameron Leekie of Oamaru's O'Neill Contracting Ltd.
Mr O'Neill and Mr Leekie have spent the past few weeks working to identify the shortest and most cost-effective route from the existing headpond at Ngapara/Georgetown Rd through Five Forks, Kauru Hill and on to the Kakanui Valley.
The survey will also identify various important features and gather information en route which may affect the project.
Although the survey is only in the project development stage as a desk-top study, it utilises available typographical maps, aerial photography, Geographic Information Services, satellite imagery and Google Earth software.
Mr O'Neill said part of the project involved interviewing landowners and interested parties.
"This will enable us to collate information, particularly local knowledge, which will give NOIC a good feel for what would be possible if stage two of the project was to go ahead," he said.
"We have had a very good response and the information supplied has been of great benefit."
Windsor landowner Steve Flower, who farms 470ha in the area being surveyed, said he was pleased to see landowners being involved in the consultation process.
"Landowners know the lay of the local land and by consulting us, we can assist with information that could help keep the costs down and make it affordable for all concerned," he said.
Meetings with Maheno and Five Forks communities will be held on March 28 and 29 to discuss the expansion of irrigation in their area.