Water crisis in Buleleng; disease outbreak feared
The ongoing dry season has caused the clean water crisis in Buleleng to spread from that previously reported in Tejakula district to now include Sawan district.
Previously, for drinking and showering purposes, Menasa hamlet in Sawan mostly counted on daily clean water flowing from the state tap-water company (PDAM) pipelines in the area.
A resident of Menasa hamlet, Ketut Wishi Widi, acknowledged the current water crisis in his home village.
“The PDAM pipes now only provide clean water twice a week for merely two hours. When it is available, the villagers race to save the most water they can in their jerrycans, or any other form of container, so that they can have water to drink,” said Widi, talking about the reduced water supply.
Water containers with a depth of 1 meter are also another facility that the residents use to collect up to 1,000 liters of water that seeps from small streams. “Almost all the homes in the hamlets have these water retainers and use the collected water for cleaning. But some people also use the water for drinking,” said Widi.
When the collected water runs dry, there is no other choice for the villagers than to use the water from the nearby small streams.
The stream water is normally used for washing clothes and for their cattles, but now the residents are forced to also use it for bathing and drinking, despite the fact that the water is contaminated by villagers upstream also using the streams to bathe and do their washing.
“Fortunately, we have not contracted any digestive or skin diseases from using the stream water,” said Widi.
“We will coordinate with Buleleng PDAM to keep supplying clean water to Menasa hamlet,” head of Sawan district, Nyoman Sandhiyasa, told Bali Daily on Thursday.
“The problem is the water tankers from PDAM are unable to reach the most remote areas, which have poor road access,” said Sandhiyasa, claiming that the water tankers usually distributed water every three days.
Separately, at the recently concluded 3rd East Asia Ministerial Conference in Nusa Dua, head of Bali Health Agency Ketut Suarjaya acknowledged the island’s Pejukutan village on Nusa Penida Island in Klungkung regency and Songan village in Bangli as two of the driest areas on the island. Due to the absence of clean water and basic sanitation, over the last two years about 100 children and babies in Songan have been suffering skin disease scabies.
“We have made efforts to promote sanitation and hygiene to prevent the disease, as well as providing medication. But it might not have been completely comprehensive. It is difficult to deploy health workers to remote villages. Most fresh graduates prefer to be assigned in the city,” said Suarjaya.