Irish Water says it plans to install more than one million water meters outside homes before the end of 2016.

The company says the metering programme will create 1,600 jobs.

The new utility company says it will start installing meters from next week, beginning in Co Kildare and continuing on to Kerry, Meath, Wexford, Dublin City, Limerick, Mayo and then Fingal.

It says it will install 27,000 meters a month starting next week.

Households will be given notice before a meter is installed and the company says the installation should not cause more than a few hours of disruption to supply.

Households can expect their first water bill at the start of 2015.

Those who have not received a meter at that stage will be billed on their estimated use.

The three regional contractors appointed are GMC/Sierra Ltd, J Murphy and Sons Ltd and Coffey Northumbrian Ltd.