Jakarta

Forum proposes road map
to secure water

A newly established organization, the Jakarta Water Forum (FAJ), introduced on Tuesday a draft of a road map to save Jakarta from a water crisis.

Among the recommendations they proposed were the establishment of an agency tasked with supplying untreated water; improvements to law enforcement to monitor and punish illegal groundwater exploiters; the restoration of all rivers and lakes in Jakarta; and the promotion of a healthy living campaign among Jakartans — particularly for people living on riverbanks.

“We can produce an alternative for the capital’s raw water resources by revitalizing Jakarta’s rivers and lakes. We hope the construction of SPAM [drinking water treatment system] in Jatiluhur and Siphon in Bekasi will be completed in October,” FAJ chairman Sri Wida-yanto Kaderi said on the sidelines of a workshop on the water issue at City Hall on Tuesday.

Representatives from governmental institutions and the private sector, including from the Public Works Ministry, city-owned water operator PAM Jaya, private water operators Palyja and Aetra and the Drinking Water and Environmental Sanitation Network (AMPL), attended the workshop, which aimed to establish a road map to secure water supplies in Jakarta.

According to the Jakarta Water Resources Council, which is also a member of the forum, the country’s capital can only supply 2.2 percent of its total demand for clean water from Krukut River, with another 80 percent coming from the Jatiluhur Dam.

With a population of about 12 million people, Jakarta needs up to 26,938 liters of water per second.

“We have 13 rivers that are polluted, so we are highly dependant on other regions for our water supply,” water council member Firdaus Ali said.

“Second, groundwater is highly exploited but not replenished, resulting in land subsidence that leads to other issues, including flooding. The price of water in Jakarta is also higher than that of other regions because we don’t have enough supplies of raw water.”

The forum also highlighted the importance of controlling the exploitation of groundwater, an issue the city administration is struggling to cope with, in addition to the issue of water leakages at a rate of more than 40 percent.

FAJ co-founder Oswar Mungkasa said illegal connections were behind most leakages. “We have to work on this before increasing water supplies; we will only lose more water if we add water to a broken bucket,” he said.

Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) researcher Robert M. Delinom said separately that most illegal groundwater wells were found in business districts in Central Jakarta.

The city administration established 65 groundwater monitoring wells in the 1970s in areas with allegedly high groundwater exploitation rates. “Unfortunately, 32 out of the 65 monitoring wells were damaged,” Robert said.

Jakarta Enviromental Agency’s groundwater and wastewater management head, Bawa Sarasa, said the administration planned to refurbish the wells in the near future and replace the previous Automatic Water Level Record (AWLR) with a telematrix water record system, to improve supervision of the 32 aging monitoring wells in the city.

“The AWLR is a conventional water record system that uses manual supervision to check water usage. Because of their age, the [monitoring] wells are not in good condition,” he said.

The Public Works Ministry’s director for rivers and shores, Pitoyo Subandrio, said the ministry would soon be constructing the Karian Dam in Banten, which was designed to serve as a reservoir to supply raw water to Banten and Jakarta. “The dam is designed to supply 3.2 cubic meters of water per second to Jakarta. We plan to complete the construction within three years,” Pitoyo said, without disclosing further details. (tam)

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