The Jakarta Post
The administration of West Java's Depok is planning to increase its groundwater tax from the current Rp 500 to Rp 4,000 (2 US cents) per cubic meter to push customers into using piped water provided by the city-owned water utility.
"We will increase the tax to Rp 4,000 per cubic meter by August," Depok Financial Agency (BKD) head Nina Suzana told tempo.co on Tuesday.
The notable tax increase aimed to prevent excessive use of groundwater and to push people into shifting to the city-owned water utility's product, Nina said, noting that there were currently 139 businesses still using groundwater in Depok.
She said that the new tax figure had gone through an academic review, although she acknowledged that it was still far below the rate set by the city's water operator, PDAM Tirta Asasta, of Rp 10,500 per cubic meter.
The Depok administration had not increased its groundwater tax since 2003, despite groundwater prices having to undergo evaluation every year, Nina said.
Groundwater taxes contributed Rp 1.75 billion to the city's income last year, higher than the administration's target of Rp 1.72 billion. This year, the Depok administration aimed to reap Rp 1.8 billion from groundwater taxes.
Nina said that a big number of malls, apartments and factories had violated the rules for using groundwater, while some remained in arrears of taxes.
PDAM Tirta Asasta general director Ee Sulaeman said that businesses in the city's business district of Margonda had been major users of groundwater, adding that the district had recorded relatively few users of his company's clean water.
"Not only hotels and apartments, even big campuses, shophouses and shops on Margona Raya have not used PDAM's services," Sulaeman said.
Following Margonda, business entities on Jl, Raya Jakarta-Bogor and in Cinere had also been exploiting groundwater, Sulaeman said, estimating the number of places to be about 20 in the three major hubs in the city.
"This is worrying because the overuse of groundwater can lead to land subsidence and building collapses, as well as landslides," he said, attributing the excessive use of groundwater by businesses to weak supervision by local authorities. (ars)