The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) has said the water-metering programme should be parked, but not abandoned.
The Oireachtas Committee on the future funding for water charges has heard that if the State is going to be the main funder, then investing in meters is not a priority, and that leaking pipes should be fixed instead.
However, the Commission has admitted they have no definitive answer on how to work out whether a house is being wasteful with water.
Labour TD Jan O'Sullivan said that without water meters, it will be impossible to charge households who use water unfairly.
Paul McGowan is from the CER said the proposal from the expert commission is that the vast majority of the water should be paid for by the State, and only excessive use should be charged for.
"In that context, we said that at this time there are other priorities for capital investment, but that we could come back and look at whether there is a case for further metering in due course," he said.