The first step in the construction of a new water storage project near Kaikohe began this week, in a scheme that will allow up to 7000ha of new horticultural development in the region.
Work on the reservoir itself - which will be 750,000 cubic metres - is set to commence in late December, but construction of the access road began on Thursday.
Construction of the project is expected to provide up to 70 jobs.
The reservoir - called Matawii - is the first in a series planned for the Mid North region by Te Tai Tokerau Water Trust. Up to three more reservoirs are also planned in Kaipara.
The scheme is designed to collect water from natural sources in times of high flow through a mix of pumping systems and gravity. The water would then be stored in the newly created reservoirs and distributed through a network of pipes in times of need.
Trust chair Murray McCully said the Matawii reservoir should be operational towards the end of 2021.
'We are all acutely aware of the problems faced in the North through water scarcity. Construction of the Matawii reservoir is the first step in a larger water storage scheme that represents a once in a lifetime transformational opportunity for Tai Tokerau," he said.
According to the Trust, economic analysis had estimated the water storage schemes could generate $67 million per annum for the Mid North and $83 million in the Kaipara, as well as creating up to 880 new jobs across the two regions.