Anna Hazare used to see miserable condition of farmers due to water scarcity in Ralegan Siddhi. The village falls in the drought-prone area of Maharashtra state with only 15 to 20 inches of annual rainfall. There were no weirs to retain rainwater. As there were no system for water conservation scarcity of water had been prevailing for ever before Anna intervened.
Water tankers were the only source of drinking water for the villagers during hot summers. Food grains were scarce and the villagers of Ralegan Siddhi used to walk out in search of employment. Some of them had also opted to open country liquor dens as a source of income that defamed Ralegan Siddhi and marred the social peace of the village. Villagers were also involved in thefts and physical brawls resulted in loss of morality.
Inspired by the work of Vilasrao Salunke, a resident of Saswad near Pune, Anna Hazare had started a project of water management through watershed development at Ralegan Siddhi. He steered the villagers of Ralegan Siddhi to begin water conservation project by preserving every single drop of water. They also worked for preventing erosion of the fertile soil. They built contour trenches as well as staggered trenches and gully plugs. They also became instrumental for forestation of more than thousand acres of land. They constructed five RCC weirs and sixteen Gabion Weirs after that. All these efforts resulted increase in the ground water level of the village.
Anna Hazare and his team worked out the cropping pattern suitable to the soil quality and water availability. Team Anna applied scientific methods and technology for agriculture. This led to fivefold increase in the cultivated land. As a natural consequence, the villagers became self-sufficient in food. The village started importing labors from neighboring villages. All these efforts of team Anna changed economic condition of the village. Ralegan Siddhi has taken the path to be an ideal village.
The changes in the economics united all the villagers. The Villagers voluntarily contributed to build school, hostel, temple and other buildings of public utility.The villagers established grains bank and dairy projects. These further developed team spirit and standard of life in the village. Level of education also increased viz a viz to economic condition.
Moreover, Co-operative society and self-help groups for women and youth helped develop Ralegan Siddhi in every aspect of life and provided a new glittering face to it. Ralegan Siddhi became the first role model of an ideal village in India. It has become an example of turning from worst village to an ideal village. Four students, so far, have been awarded Ph. D. degree on thesis on Ralegan Siddhi.
Anna Hazare and team Anna did the miracle