The Archipelago

New dam to resolve water
crisis

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is scheduled to launch the groundbreaking ceremony of the Pandanduri Dam in East Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), via teleconference from the Jakarta Convention Center on Friday.

The dam project in NTB was part of the launching of other national projects in Bali and North Maluku.

After attending a coordinating meeting and discussing the ground breaking with the media, NTB Public Works Office head Dwi Sugiyanto said on Wednesday that the Pandanduri Dam project in Sakra district, East Lombok, was aimed at overcoming the recurring drought in Lombok, especially in the south.

“A survey on the dam’s potential was conducted in 1978, followed by a technical study and an environmental impact analysis in 2009. The project will commence at the end of the year,” said Dwi.

The Pandanduri dam will span around 430 hectares and cost an estimated Rp 800 billion (US$92.8 million). According to Dwi, the project will be financed by the state budget through the Office of the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, executed by the Public Works Ministry’s Directorate General of Water Resources and will also involve the NTB River Zone Center (BWS).

“The dam will accommodate around 25.7 million cubic meters of water and be able to irrigate 10,350 hectares of farmland,” said Dwi.

Dwi was optimistic that the project would be completed by the next five years.

Areas in southern Lombok Island were classified as arid and prone to water shortages, he said, which was due to low rainfall and a lack of water sources.

The NTB Public Works Office has recorded around 50,000 hectares of farmland in the southern parts of East, West and Central Lombok that are prone to water crises.

However, drought affecting around 30,000 hectares of farmland in West Lombok could be overcome by the presence of the Batujai and Vengga dams in Central Lombok. The remaining 20,000 hectares of farmland are in Central and East Lombok. The water needs for farmland in Central Lombok would be met by the Mujur dam after the completion of the Pandanduri dam.

Dwi said the government had acquired around 330 hectares of residents’ land, equivalent to the size of the reservoir. The NTB provincial and East Lombok regental administrations will allocate Rp 7.5 billion and Rp 12.5 billion from their respective budgets this year to acquire another 50 hectares.

“The acquisition of the total area is around 440 hectares, but the reservoir, which takes up 380 hectares, has been completed this year. The rest will be acquired in stages,” said Dwi.

He added that the dam area encompassed four villages in Sakra district, including Swangi, the main village. Citing East Lombok administration data, Dwi said at least 800 families would be relocated to make way for the project.

He added that the Pandanduri Dam would have various functions besides irrigation and clean water supply. It would also spur growth in the tourism sector, especially in southern Lombok.

“The dam would also boost agricultural production in NTB, which is currently a national food buffer zone,” he said.

The launching ceremony will be initiated via teleconference by NTB Governor Zainul Majdi, East Lombok Regent Sukiman Azmy and a number of local officials.

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