Nearly a thousand water meters will be installed at homes every day from next week as plans to impose charges get under way.
Irish Water confirmed more than one million meters will be put in place outside properties before the end of 2016, with an average 27,000 installed each month.
As the utility company revealed the process would create 1,600 jobs, managing director John Tierney said it was "one of the most ambitious metering programmes ever undertaken".
He said he understands householders may not be happy about the water charges when they come into force next year, but he warned there would be no escape from paying their bills.
"We want to work with people to help them to pay this and we will be looking at every level possible in this regard," Mr Tierney said.
"But the actual mechanism for if somebody simply refuses to engage with us will be contained in the legislation which we will have before the end of the year, and there may well be measures in there that will assist us in that regard. We expect that there will be."
The first wave of quarterly water bills will be issued in January 2015 - based on usage during the final three months of 2014.
All households, except those availing of a private water supply, will be charged for their usage - even those whose homes have not yet been fitted with a meter.
The meter rollout will run until the end of 2016, meaning those without one will have their bills based on an estimate, which could take into account the number of people living in a property and the number of bedrooms.
The water meter installation programme will begin next week in Co Kildare, before expanding into Kerry, Meath, Wexford, Dublin City, Limerick, Mayo and then Fingal.