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Jakarta Post

Thanks to bold project, clean water no longer a pipe dream for poor neighborhood

  • Liza Yosephine

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, February 3, 2016   /  09:59 am
Thanks to bold project, clean water no longer a pipe dream for poor neighborhood Water ways: Local people draw water from a dirty river in a slum area of Jakarta. US development agency USAID and the Indonesia Urban Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (IUWASH) program are partnering to find alternative solutions to provide indigent neighborhoods in the capital with clean water. (Tempo)

Water ways: Local people draw water from a dirty river in a slum area of Jakarta. US development agency USAID and the Indonesia Urban Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (IUWASH) program are partnering to find alternative solutions to provide indigent neighborhoods in the capital with clean water. (Tempo)

The US government, through its development aid agency USAID, has partnered with the Indonesia Urban Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (IUWASH) program to provide clean water to Jakarta'€™s low-income communities.

Through the project, 250 North Jakarta  households not legally eligible to receive services provided by city-owned water operator PD PAM Jaya because of their status as informal residents on government-owned land, have been connected to a '€œMaster Meter'€, providing them with clean piped water.

PD PAM Jaya technical and services senior manager Elly Dermawati said that regulations meant the company was not allowed to extend water pipes to residences classified as illegal. However, the ban had evidently not stopped undocumented residents from building their homes and living their lives on the land.

IUWASH deputy chief of party Foort Bustraan said the lack of access in the past had led to poor sanitation and even pushed residents to obtain water through illegal connections to water pipes.

"With financial grants provided by USAID and accompanied by technical facilitation from IUWASH, a solution has been created to meet the basic necessity of water despite the legal technicalities of the residents," Bustraan told reporters during a site visit to the Tanah Merah neighborhood.  

A Master Meter, he said, had been installed by PD PAM on land legally servable by the firm'€™s water, then pipes had been set up to channel water from the meter to the homes of Tanah Merah residents.

Previously, for the denizens of Community Unit (RW) 22  in Tanah Merah, obtaining clean water for everyday use meant paying an exorbitant amount of money for limited and inconveniently bottled gallons.

The project had assuaged PD PAM's concerns of water theft at the same times as providing clean water to local people.

"It is not an ideal solution but as far as we can see it's the only solution for the people who do not have access to PD PAM," said Bustraan.

IUWASH Urban Water Supply and Sanitation specialist Tofikurochman Achmad said the water price was set at Rp 14,000 (US$1.02) per cubic meter with Rp 7,500 going straight to PD PAM to cover the company's regular costs and the rest of the money used for technical maintenance of the extended pipes.

A locally elected team of organizers would be responsible for the upkeep of the facilities and to manage the budget, he added.

Tofikurochman said that while the tariff was higher than PD PAM'€™s usual charges, it was still far better than the previous situation, which saw households rack up hundreds of thousands of rupiah in water expenses per month to buy bottled water.

USAID had granted Rp 1 billion for the construction of the project in RW 22 in Tanah Merah, he said, adding that 10 similar projects were underway around the city.

USAID Indonesia water and sanitation specialist Nur Endah Shofiyani said the project aimed to support the Indonesian government's vision of "100-0-100" as stipulated in the 2015-2019 National Mid-Term Development Plan, in which it planned to reach 100 percent of citizens having access to clean drinking water, 0 percent living in slums and 100 percent having access to good sanitation by 2019.

USAID intended to extend its project for the next five years, she added.

Endah said the organization aimed to focus on boosting the welfare of the population'€™s poorest 40 percent.  (ebf)(+)

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