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May Updates 2021

Water, The Elixir of Life

Dear Envirocare Coordinators, Go Green Champions and Eco Explorers,

This month we introduce the most important spiritual discipline (sādhanā) of selfless service to humanity, which helps to intensify the aspirant’s practice of the five universal human values of Truth, Right Conduct, Peace, Love, and Non violence, setting him on the direct path to Self-realisation. 

To satiate the thirst of many thousands of people, provide them with safe and clean drinking water. ‘If the sacred gift of earth is life, then water is the custodian of life.’ – Chief Tamale Bwoya. This life-sustaining source is gifted by Nature’s rains, which fill our lakes, rivers and streams, recharges the underground aquifers, and is driven by gravity to the end of its thriving journey – our ocean trove. 

“The right to water entitles everyone to have access to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic use.”

– United Nations (UN) Water.

Our moral and civic responsibilities to water

Water is needed to maintain the integrity of our ecosystems; it has different uses in many fields. But owing to a growing global population, the demand for fresh water has increased several-fold. According to the National Geographic Society, “Only about 0.3% of our freshwater is found in the surface water of lakes, rivers, and swamps. Of all the water on Earth, more than 99 percent of Earth’s water is unusable by humans and many other living things.” 

As a result, billions of people around the world continue to suffer from poor access to water, sanitation, and hygiene – United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The amount of freshwater available for human use is limited, but this scarce resource is being polluted by anthropogenic activities that are damaging ecosystems and causing an imbalance in natural processes. Water is a universal natural solvent and should be treated with respect, dignity and gratefulness.

Check out some Protect The Planet resources that provide guidance on how to REDUCE our water consumption:

 - Water Study Circle Guide

 - Water Conservation and Protection Tips

 - Water Service and Community Outreach Guide

 - Water Conservation Tips

The Lord’s Grace to Millions
Sri Sathya Sai Drinking Water Projects

Sri Sathya Sai Baba has blessed millions of people through His many drinking water projects. The Sri Sathya Sai water projects began in 1994 and have so far brought succour to about 1,500 water-starved and impoverished villages. These projects were completely executed then handed over to the Government of Andhra Pradesh. Sri Sathya Sai Baba has taught devotees around the world to “be for long an earnest and enthusiastic servant engaged in selfless, loving service.” 

“Service is the best school for training in leadership. You should eliminate in that school all traces of disgust, anger and impatience. ... Remind yourself that you are a sadhaka (spiritual aspirant) and that seva is the spiritual path that you have ventured upon as the easiest and the best.”

– Sri Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol.13/Ch.18, 15 November 1975

Following the Footsteps of the Lord
– Fine Example of Selfless Service
Sri Sathya Sai Drinking Water Projects, Sri Lanka

While there is no national shortage, a growing number of regions in Sri Lanka are still facing safe water scarcity. In Sri Lanka, most of the population obtain their drinking water from wells, hand pump tube wells, canals, streams, to name a few. 

The Sri Sathya Sai International Organization of Sri Lanka, Zone 4, adheres to Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s message of selfless service to those in distress, to alleviate the long-enduring sufferings of the local residents. Devotees from different Sri Sathya Sai Centres in Sri Lanka have united to accomplish the Divine mission among the people of their country.

They have undertaken a project to implement water supply schemes in areas affected by high calcium content and contaminants in the water source. There is also a lack of proper water supply and purification systems in those areas. Four Water Purification plants have been successfully established since 2014 in Vavuniya, Visuvamadu and Oddusudda, which is situated in the Northern part of Sri Lanka, and in Anamaduwa, situated in the western part of Sri Lanka.

The water purification process removes undesired chemical compounds and contaminants such as algae, bacteria, fungi etc. from water. One major purpose of water purification is to provide clean and potable drinking water.

In 2017, two water tanks were installed at two sites in Inpacholai, Jaffna district, on the Northern coast of Sri Lanka. These tanks are filled once a week with safe drinking water by a bowser. Five bore wells and one large common well have been repaired in Selvapuram Village, also located in the Jaffna district, in the Northern part of Sri Lanka.

Through this initiative, SSSIO Sri Lanka is contributing significantly to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG-6): availability and sustained management of water and sanitation for all. This service of man, done in a spirit of dedication and devotion, will ensure peace, security and prosperity in the designated villages.

Water samples from dug wells and deep wells in the identified locations in Sri Lanka were analysed before the implementation of the water projects. The results of the study revealed “substantially high ionic content leading to higher electric conductivity, salinity, total dissolved solids and total hardness levels (amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium in the water) compared to those of the Sri Lankan standards.” 

The study concluded that the water parameters are “significantly correlated with Chronic Kidney Diseases of unknown Etiology (CKDu)”.Article: Impact of water quality on Chronic Kidney Disease of unknown etiology. 

The principal natural sources of hardness in water are “dissolved polyvalent metallic ions from sedimentary rocks, seepage and runoff from soils.” – World Health Organisation (WHO) Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality. The chemistry of the drinking water is, therefore, having an important bearing on the health of the population of Sri Lanka. 

“What little man has to do here has to be done quickly, at the place that is assigned to him within the time that is allotted to him. And, man has such a formidable task before him; it is to fulfil it that he has come as man, exchanging for this human habitat, all the merit he has acquired during many past lives.” 

– Sri Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol.13/Ch.4, 28 January 1975

Deep Well and Tube Well Project, Sri Lanka 

Local residents have to walk very long distances and draw up water, using ropes and buckets from deep wells, for drinking and domestic uses. The laborious Sai soldiers of the SSSIO Sri Lanka have relieved them of this tiring daily task.

Hand digging techniques and other efficient mechanized methods have been used to dig several metres underground to exploit underground aquifers for people and communities in need of water. Since 2013, nine deep wells and tube wells have been installed in Jaffna, Vavuniya and Mullaitivu, in the Northern Region of Sri Lanka, in Sri Vallipuram, in the Eastern region of Sri Lanka and, the most recent one, in Pavatkodichchenai, also in the Eastern Region of Sri Lanka. The water wells yield high demands of clean water for domestic purposes.

The water projects at Sri Vallipuram and Pavatkodichchenai have benefited over 400 and 200 local residents respectively in each village.

Water purification project in Viswamadu,
Mullaitivu 2018

SSSIO Sri Lanka has set up a water purification plant in Viswamadu, Mullaitivu district, in February 2018, jointly with the Sri Lanka Army, at the specific request of the Principal of Viswamadu Maha Vidyalayam (provincial school in Visuvamadu) and Sri Lankan Army. Drinking water samples were again analysed, followed by the construction of the water purification plant in the premises of the school in Viswamadu, which benefits around 180 school children and 200 families in Viswamadu.

Water Purification Project in Kathaliyar Samalankulam, Oddusuddan, 2019

As part of the Sri Sathya Sai Village Integrated Project (SSSVIP), volunteers in Sri Lanka assisted by 23 soldiers from the Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment of the Sri Lankan Army have successfully completed the water project that provides 2,000 litres of pure drinking water every day to 2,500 people residing in the community. Oddusuddan is the 20th village adopted by SSSIO Sri Lanka under the SSSIO Global 95 Communities adoption programme.

Water purification project in the H7 village in Marungoda, Mahauswewa, Anamaduwa, 2020

Construction work started in August 2019 and the project was inaugurated in March 2020. A water purification plant was installed in the Siri Perakum Primary School, it provides 5,000 litres of pure water daily to 250 families (approximately 1,200 persons) residing in the village. Anamaduwa village is the 24th newly adopted village by SSSIO Sri Lanka. During the inauguration ceremony, the students of the school planted five saplings and presented cultural programmes to celebrate the unity among all and the formidable ‘seva’. SSSIO volunteers also distributed school bags to 84 school children.

Worthy Recipients of God’s Love
Reflections of Sri Lankan Volunteers

The Sri Lankan Sai volunteers have merged in the vast concourse of humanity and feel one with all. The fundamental truth that divinity is embodied in all beings should be exemplified in practice by man. Whatever they do as service, they believe that it reaches God in that person. The service that they render rewards them with satisfaction and relief for those whom they serve. The needy people being served are keys to the volunteers’ realisation of reality through their sadhana of seva

The water purification project has cultivated unity among Sai devotees across different parts of the country and residents of the designated areas. They recognise that each drop of water is crucial for life on Earth and should not be wasted, thousands of people in the country still have dire shortages of safe and clean drinking water. The Sai soldiers of the Western and Southern Region of SSSIO of Sri Lanka are planning to implement more water drinking projects in the villages lacking safe water sources.

To read more about the universality of all creation and how we can strive to live in constant, integrated awareness with the Divine, DOWNLOAD this article: “Awakening to the Environment” from the Environmental Sustainability Committee (ESC) Hub.

With Sai Love and Care,

Environmental Sustainability Committee

Sri Sathya Sai International Organization