Nine ministers signed an agreement on lake protection in Bali Thursday, recommending immediate action to restore the country’s ailing lakes to reduce the severe risk of a water crisis due to climate change.
The signing ceremony, held in Bali during a three-day national conference on lake protection, was attended by dozens of governors, regents and mayors from across the country as well as hundreds of other participants.
State Minister for the Environment Rachmat Witoelar said the country’s lakes could retain a water volume of 500 cubic kilometers, or 72 percent of the total surface water in Indonesia.
“The huge supply of water in lakes could be used as raw water for the local population, agriculture, fisheries and for hydrologic plants (PLTA),” he told the conference.
As well as Rachmat, eight other ministers attended: the forestry minister; the maritime affairs and fisheries minister; the culture and tourism minister; the public works minister; the energy and mineral resources minister; the home minister; the state minister for research and technology and the state minister for national development planning.
The agreement regulates, among others, water resource management, forest and industrial zoning, fishing zones and preservation and conservation areas.
Pilot projects of sustainable lake management will be conducted in nine major lakes: Toba lake in North Sumatra; Singkarak and Maninjau lakes in West Sumatra; Rawa Pening in Central Java; Tempe, Tondano and Poso lakes in Sulawesi; Batur lake in Bali and Limboto in East Nusa Tenggara.
Indonesia with around 521 major lakes more than 10 hectares has suffered from repeated water crises, mainly during prolonged droughts. Indonesia is deemed one of the countries most prone to the severe impacts of climate change, and its booming population also poses serious threats to water supplies.
The public works ministry predicted the country would need more than 311 million cubic meters of drinking water in 2012 because of the population boom. The State of the Environment report in Indonesia said water quality in rivers, basins and lakes - the main sources of drinking water in many areas - continued to be severely polluted by domestic and industrial waste.
Rachmat said the ecosystems of major lakes were so poor because of peoples’s lack of awareness and understanding of the importance of conserving and preserving the lakes.