HOUSEHOLDERS could be hit with combined annual water and property charges of up to €800.
The tap water charges, due to be paid from 2014, could range anywhere from between €100 and €400, according to the head of Irish Water, the company set up to collect the tax.
John Mullins -- who is also chief executive of Bord Gais, which is in charge of running Irish Water -- said yesterday that average bills across Europe fell within that bracket.
The property tax is expected to be around €300 for an average three-bedroom, semi-detached house when it is imposed from around the middle of next year.
But the different bands will mean the tax will range from about €250 to €400 annually, government sources told the Irish Independent recently. The Government and the water regulator have yet to work out the details of how householders will be assessed for bills over a two-year period.
Under the deal with the troika, Ireland must start charging domestic users for water from 2014.
But water meters will not be installed in most homes until 2016 at the earliest.
Irish people are among the highest consumers of water in Europe, which means charges could fall at the higher end of the estimate.
This means that householders will be forced to pay a flat-rate fee for water in early 2014.
The charge will be based on the size of the house and the number of people living in it.
And the use of an "assessed" charge means there will be no financial reward for households that try to reduce their water consumption. This is despite the Government repeatedly insisting that each home will be given a 'free' annual allowance of water, after which they will pay based on the amount used.
The Irish Independent has previously revealed that some 300,000 homeowners, most living in apartments and terraced houses, would be forced to pay flat-rate charges as it won't be possible to install meters on their properties.