The Jakarta Post
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo officiated Gondang Dam in Gempolan village, Kerjo district, Karanganyar regency, Central Java, on Thursday. The dam can contain 9.15 million cubic meters to water a total of 4,680 hectares of rice fields in Karanganyar and Sragen regencies.
The President and First Lady Iriana arrived at the site at 10 a.m., accompanied by Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono, Central Java Deputy Governor Taj Yasin Maimoen, Karanganyar Regent Juliyatmono and Sragen Regent Kusdinar Untung Yuni Sukowati.
"The construction of Gondang Dam has finished. It will water 4,680 hectares of rice fields in Karanganyar and Sragen. The dam is not only for irrigation as it will also be a tourist attraction and this will be good for the economy in both regencies," said Jokowi on the dam, the construction of which began in 2014.
The President said the dam served as a present for Karanganyar citizens as he and running mate Ma'ruf Amin won the April 17 presidential election with around 80 percent of the vote.
"The regent asked for a present and I said this is the present. Soon, the government will build Jelantah Dam as a present to the people. The elections are over already," he said, applauded by the guests.
The Semarang Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) reported that during the year 2018, Karanganyar and Sragen were among 19 regencies that experienced extreme drought. The other regencies were Banyumas, Brebes, Demak, Grobogan, Jepara, Kebumen, Kendal, Klaten, Pemalang, Kudus, Pemalang, Pati, Rembang, Sukoharjo, Tegal, Temanggung, Wonosobo and Wonogiri.
Yuliatmono was optimistic that the operation of Gondang Dam would increase the production of grain in Karanganyar. He said with the irrigation from the dam, the area for rice fields could be expanded by around 300 hectares.
"The farmers will be able to produce between 1,800 and 2,000 tons of grain per year. Besides, the dam will solve the drought problem so that farmers do not need to worry about the water supply to irrigate the rice fields," he added. (yan)