Winnipeg's mayor says people who are fed up with brown tap water could get a break on their water bills, but it's not clear what residents would have to do to qualify.

At least one Winnipegger, Brenda Maxwell, is refusing to pay her water bill in full as long as discoloured water keeps flowing from her taps.

Instead, she plans to deduct from her bill the amount of money she has spent on bottled water since she first experienced the brown water problem.

Erin Lengyel

Erin Lengyel pours out bottled water for Rascal, her 12-year-old Shih Tzu, on Monday. Lengyel says the tap water in her home isn't even good enough for her two dogs, nevermind for the people in her family. (Chris Glover/CBC)

"If I'm paying for water to the water company, then I expect clean water to come through my taps," she told CBC News late Monday.

Mayor Sam Katz says residents dealing with brown water might not have to pay their water bills at all.

"You have to have proof of some kind, and then we can move forward as far as any compensation is concerned," he told reporters.

However, Katz didn't specify what proof would be needed, confusing some residents.

Maxwell is among many Winnipeg residents who have had to deal with discoloured tap water in their homes in recent months.

While city officials have warned against drinking, cooking or washing clothes with the brown water, they have maintained that it's safe.

Erin Lengyel isn't taking any chances: she isn't even letting Rascal, her 12-year-old Shih Tzu, drink the tap water.

As well, she has placed white bowls in every sink of the house to screen what comes out.

Lengyel said she's afraid of her young daughter getting sick from the brown water.

"Halfway through cleaning her bottles it turns brown. Halfway through cleaning her dishes, it turns brown. I never know what's coming out of the tap," she said.

Katz said he and members of city council's executive policy committee are expecting to be briefed Tuesday on a report currently being produced on the brown water issue.

So far in September, the City of Winnipeg's 311 phone service has received 2,282 calls from residents regarding brown water.

By contrast, there were 4,575 calls to 311 about discoloured water between Aug. 16 and Aug. 31, according to a city spokesperson.