Water charges are on the way, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has warned.
The charges, which will form part of a property tax to replace the new €100 household charge which came into effect on January 1, will be rolled out as soon as meters are installed in every home in the country.
While the property tax was initially expected to be introduced in 2014, it emerged before Christmas that it could now be brought into legislation next year.
Speaking about the matter, the Taoiseach said that free water cannot be maintained.
“Literally we have spent billions in this country on providing water infrastructure,” he said.
“On the treatment of water, we have a situation where vast quantities are leaking away.
“I can tell you that within the next 20 years, the availability of water in this country is going to be absolutely critical – both for industry and for people’s lives.”