The East Java administration will open a tender for the huge Umbulan water spring exploration project in Winongan district, Pasuruan regency, at the end of this year or the beginning of 2010.
The East Java administration's assistant for the economy and development, Chaerul Djaelani, said the tender documents were currently undergoing a verification process by the Public Works Ministry and the National Development Planning Agency (Bapenas).
"Meanwhile, location mapping and water distribution readiness are being verified by a team from Australia. With that verification, we will know the amount of investment needed for the project, the cost of construction of the water plant and the resulting price of the water," he said recently.
He said based on preliminary calculations, the cost of the installation construction to distribute the water from Umbulan to Pasuruan regency, Pasuruan city, Sidoarjo, Surabaya and Gresik reached about Rp 2.4 trillion.
That price tag, he added, was more than the previous estimate of Rp 1.5 trillion.
Chaerul said the project could not yet go ahead smoothly as the five regions were still at odds over the proposed percentage of profit sharing.
As the spring is located in Pasuruan regency, and has a capacity to produce 4,000 liters of water per second, the regency has asked for a share of 70 percent of total water sale profits.
However, the government handed management of the spring over to the East Java administration because based on the Public Works Ministry's survey, the water in Umbulan spring comes from several regions in the province.
East Java Governor Soekarwo said that it was urgent to finish the project as the spring was currently only working at 10 percent capacity.
The government's intervention into the project was also needed to prevent investors from setting a high price on water sold to the public, he said.
The governor said the project's realization was needed to provide clean water for people in the five regions.
Currently, the Surabaya PDAM tap water company's water sources are the Surabaya River (8,500 liters per second) and the Umbulan and Pandaan water springs (330 liters per second).
Water from the Umbulan and Pandaan springs is only used by residents of Bangil, Pasuruan and Sidoarjo provinces. Residents in Surabaya only get water from the Surabaya River.
"Water quality in the Surabaya River decreases every year. Each year we have to provide extra treatment to the water so that it is usable," said the Surabaya tap water company's spokesman, Sunarno.
Based on the Ecological Observation and Wetlands Conservation (Ecoton) survey which ran from April 2008 until March 2009, the quantities of dissolved oxygen, biochemical oxygen demand and chemical oxygen demand in the Surabaya River were higher than government standards, stipulated in the water quality and water pollution management regulation.