Describing water as a scarce resource, the Minister said the government's policies on pricing of water also have not helped in its conservation.
"So we have to rethink on the policy about free water, free power. These are all leading to excessive consumption much beyond what is actually required," Ramesh, who is also the Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, said.
Noting that the government spends approximately Rs 9400 crore on national rural drinking water programme, he said as per government specifications at least 25 per cent of this amount should be spent on the quality of water which is central to water planning.
Spelling out the government's policy on water and sanitation in Naxal-affected districts of the country, the Minister said it has been decided that two types of integration should be done there.
"Two types of integration have to be carried out in Maoist-hit areas. Housing, water supply and sanitation and secondly just between water supply and sanitation," he said.
"Today, we have the housing scheme- Indira Awas Yojana that provides house. We have a national rural drinking water programme that provides water. We have a sanitation programme that provdies toilets," the Minister said.
"The model we are adopting is the Orissa model. This is being done by an NGO called Gram vikas, which has provided integrated housing cum water supply cum sanitation facilities in about 900 villages. And that is the model that we are now going to adopt in all the Naxal affected districts to begin with," Ramesh said.
Observing that there is a link between MNREGA and water supply, he said the creation of more durable water conservation structures through the scheme is going to be an essential component of increasing water supply and recharging ground water activity.
"If MNREGA (funds) is going to be spent on water conservation, water restoration, water harvesting..then the ground water will get recharged. That enables the supply of water for communities," the Minister said.