or millions of people in Andhra Pradesh, an area as large as France, it is a major problem to obtain pure drinking water. The area is regularly afflicted by great droughts. Hygienic circumstances are very bad as well. Above all, a too high concentration of fluorine causes serious bone diseases.
Therefore Sai Baba wished to supply the whole area with drinkable water. It was a gigantic task which struck the world and especially the United Nations with wonder.
In the course of a year 1000 villages were supplied with drinking water. More than 2000 km of pipelines of the best quality and a diameter of 80 to 600 mm were constructed.
In order to distribute the water over such a large area, 43 wells were built with a capacity of 100.000 to 25 million litres.
18 balancing reservoirs with a capacity of 300.000 to 1 million litres and 270 water towers are transporting the water to the smallest villages.
Village people who had to walk many miles just to collect water for their most basic needs now have pure water available in their immediate vicinity.
It needs no explanation that this project has a mega effect on the rural development and emancipation of an entire people.
At this very moment Sai Baba is taking a comparable initiative for other parts of India.
Chennai Water Project - "Sai Ganga"
In the early seventies, the Central Government recognized the water problem of Madras.
Steps were supposed to be taken to bring the water of the Krishna river from the neighbouring state Andrah Pradesh to the city of Madras. Due to financial problems, the agreement was not put into action.
The second attampt to bring water to Madras collapsed, having become enmeshed in corruption scandals. All that remained, were concrete pipes in the middle of the desert.
Meanwhile, the problem of Madras (now renamed Chennai), started to become more and more acute. It was at that juncture, that Sathya Sai Baba made his dramatic and totally unexpected announcement on 19 January 2002. It was the occasion of the first anniversary of the Super Speciality Hospital in Bangalore. Baba promised to start up the drinking water project for Chennai.
Baba said He was greatly moved by the plight of the poor people there. He had received much love from the people of that city and He wanted to do something for them. The rich there could buy water from tanker services, but what about the poor?
Thanks to Baba, the watercanal to Chennai became a reality. A gigantic project, that required a 150 km canal to be dug. In practise this meant: a) making improvements to the reservoir in Kandaleru, so that it could hold enough water to serve even during dry seasons; b) deepening and widening the canal as required, and c) lining the canal with the latest technology to totally eliminate seepage.
This work, has been going on steadily since mid 2002, and has now been completed. As always, Baba took personal interest, constantly monitoring progress.
Meanwhile, as an expression of gratitude to Sathya Sai Baba for all that He has done, the Government of Andrah Pradesh has decided to rename the project as "Sai Ganga". This is an extraordinary development in national affairs, at a time when inter-state water disputes are the order of the day.
Chennai, which now has a population of over seven million, is at last beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel.
People wonder what Baba gets by way of return of His "investments". This question was raised during a U.N. Habitat meeting at Tokyo. The Trust Representative replied that while others view retuns purely in financial terms, for Baba returns meant the Love that the people gave back. Baba says that it is Love that makes it all possible.