NTT facing clean water crisis
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Residents in a number of areas in East and West Manggarai, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), are still living without sources of clean water and many more still lack safe drinking water.
People in Ruan village, East Manggarai, for instance, have been consuming water contaminated with livestock and chemical waste dumped from farms, which then flowed into the Wae Santi River, village head Antonius Sarong said. “In 2004, a diarrhea outbreak claimed the lives of four people and this year, one person has already died of the disease,” Sarong told The Jakarta Post on Thursday. He added that residents used water from the Wae Santi River to irrigate their fields and provide water for their animals. Water from their farms is also channeled into the river, so it is often contaminated by chemicals, such as fertilizer and pesticides. “We have repeatedly informed the East Manggarai administration of this issue, but to no avail,” Sarong said.
Residents in Ranakolong village are also facing a similar problem. Ranakolong village head Paulus Ndoi said he was making efforts to overcome the crisis and had discussed this issue with a neighboring village, with the hope of channeling clean water to his village.
People in Rana Loba village have to fetch potable water from the Waelaku River, located tens of kilometers away. “In the afternoon, residents carrying various sized containers filled with water, waiting for transportation near the Waelaku Bridge has become a common sight,” a pastor of the Sok parish, Ferdinandus Jampur, said.
East Manggarai Deputy Regent Agas Andreas said the regency administration was making strenuous efforts to meet the clean water demands of the community. “The NTT provincial administration has tried to channel water from the Waewau River, which has a large volume, to Waelengga, capital of Kota Komba district,” Agas said.
Separately, tour operators in West Manggarai regency voiced their protests over the local administration’s limited efforts in addressing the water crisis, especially in the regency capital of Labuan Bajo, where the Sail Komodo event will be held in 2013.
It is expected to draw many tourists as it is scheduled to be attended by participants from 20 countries.
West Manggarai regency secretary Rofinus Mbon claimed that his office had taken some steps to tackle the crisis.
“The administration is gradually overcoming the crisis, with drilling artesian wells in a number of points in Labuan Bajo, as well as treating water in major rivers around the city,” said Rofinus.