THE first round of water rates has hit hip pockets hard this year but it has little to do with a price rise.
A lack of rain and abundance of blazing sunshine throughout the first two months of the year have seen the city use 300,000 litres more water than the same time last year.
Consumption in January reached 1.16 million litres and, in February, 911,000.
Council has fielded a number of complaints about soaring water bills some of which had doubled from last March.
Finance director Max Turner said residents should look carefully at their usage before approaching council to complain about a perceived price increase.
"Consumption is well and truly up in terms of the water we've had to make available and, largely, bills are going up in relation to the amount that has been used," council finance director Max Turner said.
"We have had quite a bit of feedback from the community about water bills going up but, unfortunately, if they've used it they have to pay for it.
"We do try to keep the price down but we need to bring in enough revenue to keep the system running and make water available."
Metered potable water is billed at 60 cents per kilolitre for the first 200 kilolitres and $1.11 thereafter.
The sub-200kl rate has increased by 5 cents per kilolitre from last year.
Griffith resident and Driver IGA proprietor Paul Snaidero received a water bill for almost $900 this trimester, about $400 more than the equivalent bill in 2012.
"It's incredible to be living in an irrigation area and be getting a water bill over $800," Mr Snaidero said.
"That's a lot of money for a business or a household.
"The people I really feel for are those who own multiple tenancies.
"They're going to have to pass on increased costs to renters to compensate."
Under its hardship policy, council offers a payment plan service to allow homeowners to pay large bills in instalments.
There are currently 56 people using the service.
"People who have genuine issues being able to pay these bills should come and see us so we can put a plan in place to allay their immediate concerns," Mr Turner said.
"We take a pretty sympathetic approach to this situation but people need to be aware that it is only deferring their payment, not reducing it."