The Green Party has welcomed the recommendations of the Expert Commission on Water Charges, saying that the measures outlined in the report were "sensible and fair".

Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan said: "The recommendations are broadly in line with our own policy on water, and who can argue against a charge on the wasteful use of a precious natural resource?

"We hope that the report can lead to some agreement in the Dáil on the future of water charges."

Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen said that while the report "will require due consideration", it seems clear that water charges will not be reintroduced.

He said the report was "detailed" and that following an initial reading it is clear there are a lot of issues that need to be clarified and addressed.

He said he looks forward to working with his colleagues at the newly formed Special Oireachtas Committee on Water on the matter and he believes the committee should now be given space to fully examine the report and to explore all of its recommendations.

Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy, however, has criticised the report, saying the commission is recommending charges under the guise of excessive use.

Ibec expressed concern that domestic and waste water services should be funded almost entirely from general taxation, saying businesses cannot be expected to cross subsidise domestic users.

Ibec's Head of Infrastructure Dr Neil Walker said there is no guarantee future governments will continue to fund the high level of capital investment needed and the utility will be competing with other essential services for Exchequer resources.

The Social Democrats said the report does not make it clear if there is any "sound economic case" for continuing with the water metering programme.

TD Catherine Murphy said the "entire process regarding Irish Water has been so fundamentally flawed from the very outset that it is imperative that there is no rush to decision based on this report".