THIS is a typical water meter, already installed in tens of thousands of businesses across the State.
From 2014, every home in the country will have one, allowing Irish Water to begin charging families on the basis of how much water they use.
While the actual type of meter to be installed in 1.3 million homes has not been decided, they all operate in the same way -- water goes through the meter from the public main, and the counter records how much is used.
Each person uses an average of 145 litres of water a day -- 32pc on showers or baths, 28pc flushing the toilet, 34pc using the dishwasher, washing machine and washing dishes, and just 3pc for drinking.
The annual charges under the new system are not yet known. But there is a wide variation in the amount charged to businesses by local authorities, from €1.75 per cubic metre (1,000 litres) in Kildare, to €3.04 in Wicklow.
Irish Water is expected to standardise the charges for households and businesses.