Ecuadorian officials are meeting to evaluate the state of the Chone multipurpose water project in Manabí province to decide how best to proceed, following local opposition to the initiative.
"President [Rafael Correa] has given his word to Manabí province that the project will go forward," water minister Domingo Paredes was quoted as saying by state news agency El Ciudadano.
Local protest groups have threatened officials working on the project and have tried to attack the company responsible for the project, preventing work from going ahead.
Environment minister Marcela Aguiñaga recently approved an environmental impact study and issued a license to launch work on the project's first phase, which is being carried out by Chinese firm Tiesijú.
The first phase of the project, budgeted at US$51mn, involves building the Rio Grande dam and reservoir and the San Antonio drainage canal. Work will be carried out in three phases and is expected to take three years to complete.
Future phases of the project involve a 2,200ha irrigation system, rainwater drainage networks in Chone municipality, a potable water plant and distribution infrastructure.