THE sharp rise in the price of bulk water in Tamworth was seemingly in response to people gaming the residential restrictions in the city.
On Monday, Tamworth Regional Council implemented a new pricing scheme for its bulk water stations which included a 400 per cent per hike for volumes less than 7000 litres.
It will now cost $10 per kilolitre for people buying volumes up to 7000 litres, this is up from the previous price of $2.50.
The price for commercial quantities of water accessed by water carters (volumes greater than or equal to 7 kilolitres in one transaction) will increase from $2.50 a kilolitre to $2.57.
General manager Paul Bennett said the rise was ensure people filling up their tanks for things lawn-watering in in ongoing drought conditions were paying a premium.
"A lot of local residents are actually getting small tanks and filling them up and watering their lawns and doing those sorts of the things," Mr Bennett said.
"That's not the purpose of the water restrictions, at the moment there is no outdoor watering.
"Council has increased the charges for those small users to say 'if you think you're going to access water for purposes that are not supposed to be undertaken in these water restrictions period, that you are going to pay a premium for the water'."
He said the price rise was also aimed at reducing congestion at the filling stations to ensure "commercial users" had easy access.
Farmers will still have access to up to 3000 litres of free water a week in communities which haven't reached level four restrictions.