WINDSOR, ONT. -- A group of concerned residents in Lakeshore is frustrated about how much their most recent water bill cost, with some worried they’ll drown in debt.

Shawn Horton lives in Belle River and says his last bi-monthly bill in came well over $1,000 — catching him and his wife off guard.

“I may have drank a bit more coffee through the day, but that’s about it,” he says.

He says the town told him it was because of COVID-19 and that water use had increased.

That combined with hot summer months and possible leaks dripping away hundreds of dollars.

“No leaks, nothing is leaking. I don’t have a pool. I don’t have hot tubs, I don’t have none of that stuff,” Lakeshore resident Nelson Gagnon says.

Others are equally perplexed, saying pandemic lifestyles haven’t changed since the coronavirus lockdown began and not buying the reasoning offered by the town.

“Zero difference, except our bill which makes no sense,” said Gagnon.

Mayor Tom Bain says there hasn’t been an increase to water bills since Jan. 1, and that was just two cents per cubic metre.

He tells CTV News municipal staff are playing catch-up because of COVID-19.

“Our meter readers have not been able to get out there,” Bain says.

He says the latest bill reflects nearly 90 days because of meter reading delays, but adds that private and municipal leaks contribute to the problem.

“There’s toilets that are leaking and there are taps that are leaking and it’s amazing how you’re only seeing a few drops of water or the toilets running but that builds up,” Bain says.

Some residents with unusually high bills say they’ll abstain from paying. Others just want a good explanation.

“If you have a problem with that many people saying 'hey my bill is out of whack', there’s something internally wrong,” Horton says.

Bain says prices should level out.

“We’ll only bill you for what you use and if you are having problems, we’ll go out there and check and see,” he said.

A news release from the Town of Lakeshore issued Monday addressed the concerns, saying administration has reviewed the recent bill cycle and “has found no issues with the billing process.”

It also says in some cases the cycle may represent more than 60 days and could cover up to three months.

Any resident who still has concerns with their water bill can contact the town at 519-728-2700 Ext. 301.