The Hawke's Bay Regional Council has sold almost half the minimum amount of water it needs to sell to make the proposed Ruataniwha Dam viable.

In its latest update to the council this morning, the Council's investment company HBRIC said the number of farmers who had declined to buy water had risen from 76 in June to 170 in the September update.

HBRIC said four potential investors were now in various stages of due diligence, and there was still a reasonable prospect of reaching financial close by December of this year.

Timber by EMSIEN-3 LTD