About 40 per cent of villages in the country lack drinking water despite the fact that the government spends about Rs.1 lakh crore on water supply schemes for the benefit of the people, Arvind Mayaram, Joint Secretary, Union Panchayati Raj and Rural Development Ministry, said at Jiblakpalli, six km from Pochampalli, in Bhoodan Pochampalli mandal, on Monday.

Addressing a meeting after inaugurating a purified water filter plant set up by Global Angles Jai Charitable Trust, an NGO, and Smart Aqua Technologies Pvt Ltd, at the village, which is one of the worst fluoride-affected areas in Nalgonda district, he praised NGOs for taking up such activities.

He called for serious efforts by people to conserve water and avoid its wastage, as it was a precious commodity for supply of which the government was spending huge amount. It was everyone's responsibility to economise water usage. Efforts by NGOs to provide such facilities would to some extent help solve the problem of drinking water shortage in rural areas, Mr. Mayaram stated.