Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar has said he is certain that the water charge issue will not lead to an general election, nor will an election resolve the contentious matter.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Mr Varadkar said a solution on water that works in the long term must be found, away from personal and party politics.

Mr Varadkar said any solution has to be viable in the medium term and must not be struck down by European authorities after it is enacted. 

He said Ireland signed up to the Water Directive from Europe because the principles in it "are good ones" and we would support them.

Earlier, Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government Simon Coveney has said he will not introduce legislation that does not allow for sanctions on those who waste water.

Speaking in Westport, Co Mayo, Mr Coveney said the latest recommendations by the Oireachtas Committee fundamentally undermined the legality of what had initially been agreed with Fianna Fáil.

The Oireachtas Committee on Water earlier this week postponed a vote on its final report until Tuesday.

The party said they wanted to get legal advice to fully take "into account European compliance and our legal obligations."

Mr Coveney said that was why Fine Gael had raised a "red flag" and now wanted to work towards a solution, adding that a consensus that was legally sound needed to be found.

He said what had happened this week had caused a real problem.

He said he would not, and could not, introduce legislation that was illegal and which would expose the State to massive fines from the European Commission.

He added that advice from the Attorney General said such legislation would be illegal.

The minister said he wanted to ensure that normal water usage was paid for by general taxation but excessive or waste of water would be paid by individuals.

He said a threshold for this move had been agreed with Fianna Fáil.

But he said it was regrettable that the party then decided to vote with left-wing parties to undermine that agreement.

Mr Coveney said this had been his consistent position throughout the committee's discussions and that he would continue to hold this view.

He said he did not believe that the water issue would result in an election and that he was confident that agreement on the topic could be reached.

The minister said some politicians were trying to build a campaign on water but he felt there was no appetite for this among the general public.

Meanwhile, Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy has written to committee chairman Pádraig Ó Céidigh, accusing Mr Coveney of unprecedented political interference in the committee's work.

It follows a letter by the minister to the committee raising concerns about the legality of its final report.

Mr Murphy says the minister stated in his letter that he was not seeking "to interfere with the deliberations of the committee", however Mr Murphy claims he is and it is unacceptable.

He says the intervention is thoroughly political in nature. 

Mr Murphy also states that the minister's reference to "a volume-related levy" is proof that the minister is attempting to maintain a usage charge for water, which a majority of the committee has opposed. 

He says the committee has received its own legal advice which suggests that the report would comply with the EU water framework directive and has not seen any legal opinion to suggest it would not. 

He added that it is not a matter for the Attorney General, the EU Commission or the minister to decide but for the European Court of Justice.

He says he hopes the committee will be able to move forward and decide on a final report on Tuesday.