The cost of refunding water charges could have to come from underspending in areas like housing.
Finance Minister, Paschal Donohoe, has said that the cost of refunds might have to come from spare cash in capital spending programmes, and not just everyday savings.
He has told TDs this morning that the total cost will be €178m including a €5m bill to cover the cost of repaying the bills.
Minister Donohoe has said that is simply the reality of the decision to scrap all charges and refund all bills.
"We can't have our cake and eat it, we can't be in a situation where the Oireachtas decides and the political party decides they want to pay for this out of Government expenditure and they want to pay for this out of taxation," he said.
"When I look to try do it then I'm in a position where people are saying the choices I'm making are wrong."