The Jakarta Post
The long-awaited Jatigede Dam in Sumedang, West Java, is expected to begin operation in July, as most parts of the construction have been completed.
The Public Works and Public Housing Ministry's director general for water resources, Mudjiadi, said on Wednesday that the ministry would fill the reservoir before the end of July.
'We will begin to disburse compensation for people affected by the project on June 26, expecting to begin the fill-up by the end of July,' Mudjiadi told reporters after a hearing at the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
Mudjiadi said the government had allocated Rp 741 billion (US$55.6 million) in total compensation for around 11,000 families living in the dam area.
'We will set up two teams which would be in charge of the compensation disbursement and also of solving problems surrounding the disbursement process,' he said.
National Development Planning Board (Bappenas) director for irrigation Donny Adzan previously said that progress of the dam's physical construction had reached 99.7 percent as of early June.
The planned reservoir fill-up has already been postponed several times. Former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono aimed for the reservoir to be filled in late 2014. The government expected to start filling the dam in September and October last year, but faced difficulties in relocating families still living around the project area.
Most of the families received compensation and agreed to relocate when construction on the project began in the early 1980s. However, most of them returned after learning that the project had stalled as a result of funding issues and other setbacks in the 1990s.
The government previously allocated Rp 190.69 billion in total compensation, however the amount set for each square meter of land was increased and the government decided to compromise with the residents. The amount of compensation for each family was set at Rp 122.5 million.
Jatigede Dam, expected to be the country's second-largest, is considered crucial to ensuring Indonesia's food security.
The dam is being built on 4,891 hectares of land covering 26 subdistricts in five districts in West Java.
It will have the capacity to retain 979 million cubic meters of water to irrigate around 90,000 hectares of rice fields in Sumedang, Indramayu and Cirebon regencies.
The dam will be able to supply drinking water at a volume of 3,500 liters per second and generate 110 megawatts (MW) of electricity.
Last month, President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo officially broke the ground at the 2x55 MW hydro-powered power plant project in Jatigede to ascertain the dam's capacity and hydropower potential.
State electricity firm PLN is working with Chinese state-run company Sinohydro Corporation to complete the project, which is expected to be finished within 43 months and begin operation in 2019.
Sinohydro assigned state-owned construction company PT Pembangunan Perumahan (PTPP) to construct the structure. The total investment for the power plant reached US$150 million.
The dam development is part of the government's development priorities.
Public Works and Public Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono said his ministry would build at least five irrigation dams a year to support the government's food security program.