Environment Minister Phil Hogan has said that water meters will be installed in every home from next year.
It will take up to three years to install the meters before people start paying for their usage.
But the EU/IMF bailout commits to charges for water before then.
Minister Hogan said he will outline plans for this before the end of the year.
"There will be no flat rate charge for water but we are obliged to bring in a household charge at some stage in 2012/2013," he said.
"I am waiting for the results of the comprehensive spending review to see at what level that will be pitched, and will then bring the proposals to Government before the summer,"