Plans are at an advanced stage to establish a call centre to deal with queries from the public regarding water charges, Minister of State in the Department of the Environment Fergus O’Dowd has said.

It is intended to begin installing water meters in July.

The Government expects that 27,000 meters will be installed every month and that it will take three years to install meters all over the country.

Applicants for contracts to install the meters are currently being approved, with up to 2,000 jobs being created in the installation process.

Mr O'Dowd said that the deadline for the introduction of water charges is the beginning of next year.

The Commission for Energy Regulation in Ireland will devise the charging system.

The new water authority, Uisce Éireann or Irish Water, will be established this week.

The Bill will go through the Seanad this week and will go before the Dáil shortly, he added.

Mr O’Dowd was speaking at an event organised by the Institute of European Affairs in Dublin.