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Jakarta Post

El Niño in Indonesia: South Sumatra scrambles for water as rivers, wells dry out

  • Yulia Savitri

    The Jakarta Post

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Palembang   /   Sat, August 24, 2019   /  01:14 pm
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A toll road worker directs traffic amid thick haze from peatland fires in Pulau Semembu village, Ogan Ilir regency in South Sumatra on Monday, Aug. 5.(JP/Ahmad Rizki Prabu)

The peak of this year’s dry season has not only seen fires across thousands of hectares of South Sumatra, one of the worst-affected provinces, but has also left people scrambling for water. Rivers and wells have become so depleted that people have been forced to buy water for their daily needs like drinking and cooking. A resident of Rambutan village in Banyuasin regency, Dawisa, 49, said she and her family had been forced to purchase water as the river in their village had dried up to the point that locals needed to share water with their livestock. Residents of Sumber Makmur village, also in Banyuasin, have also needed to purchase clean water, as the village, which lies on peatland, does not have access to clean water. “Sometimes we have to wash our clothes with peatland groundwater, which damages the color of the clothes,” said Sumber Makmu...