He said drinking water security was facing multiple threats including drying up of groundwater sources due to its unregulated over-extraction.
"80 per cent of drinking water supply schemes of rural India are depending on groundwater sources and these sources are drying up due to unregulated over-extraction of water for industry and irrigation," Ramesh told PTI.
"It is a serious issue. We are planning to regulate over-extraction of groundwater for irrigation and industry," the minister said.
Ramesh was given additional charge of the Drinking Water and Sanitation portfolio after Gurudas Kamat refused to take the charge as Minister of State with Independent charge and quit the government.
According to the Ministry, drinking water supply schemes are being affected as perennial water sources are becoming seasonal. They are also getting contaminated by chemical contaminants found in the earth like arsenic and fluoride.
Leaching or fertilisers, untreated industrial effluent and sewage are also threatening the safe and sustainable drinking water.
The goal of the central government''s National Drinking Water Programme is to provide every rural person with safe water for drinking, cooking and other domestic needs on sustainable basis. More >>>