Climate Change May Cause Clean Water Crisis in Indonesia

Oleh UKM Student English Forum

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BANDUNG, - Experts predict that Indonesia will experience a scarcity of clean water by 2025, says Head of the Regional Environmental Control Agency (BPLHD) of West Java, Setiawan Wangsaatmaja. "The Earth consists of 97.5% water, but only 1% is freshwater," he said. The freshwater comes from rainfall that is contained within lakes, ponds, rivers, or groundwater aquifers. It is estimated that Indonesia has a total water volume of 308 million cubic meters, he explained.

"According to this data, Indonesia has a rich supply water of water," said Iwan. However, it is unfortunate that the potentially available clean water tends to decrease from year to year because of environmental pollution and damage to water catchment areas. The condition is exacerbated by climate change which has begun to be felt in Indonesia, in the form of flooding in the rainy season and drought in the dry season. Iwan added, "On the other hand, the consumption of clean water is on the rise following population growth."

West Java's governor, Ahmad Heryawan, through his regional secretary stated, "The provision of water needs to be balanced with good quality as well." Water quality determines whether or not water is appropriate for various needs. Rivers, as a water catchment area, need to be utilized, for example by decreasing pollution levels from domestic and industrial waste, he continued.

"Seven main river flow areas (daerah aliran sungai/DAS) in West Java are in a supercritical condition," said Iwan. An integrated management plan from upstream to downstream needs to be formulated by the government of West Java, to return rivers to their function. "If this can be achieved, it is hoped that the clean water crisis can be avoided," said Iwan.

Efforts to Handle Clean Water Crisis

The Chairman of the One-Day Seminar World Water Day 2011, Dr. Arief Sudrajat, explained, "The potential of West Java especially, and Indonesia in general as a water-rich country does not exclude the possibility that Indonesia will be hit by a clean water crisis." Every dry season, various regions experience droughts and during the rainy season the clean water season still happens because the surplus water often causes floods, which makes water sources unusable, he said.

Therefore, one of the efforts to handle this problem is through adaptation towards the impacts of climate change by managing water resources in the right way," said Arief. Brainstorming between scientists, academics, society, government officials, and other stakeholders is hoped to be able to hatch a solution to the water problems of Indonesia.

Arief explained, "To overcome the clean water crisis, environmental protection efforts are needed, including the conservation of water sources which must be done in an integrated and sustainable manner." Aside from that, the role of society is quite important, because the easiest effort is not disposing domestic waste into the river. Without collective effort, it is impossible for us to overcome water scarcity in Indonesia, finished Arief.

The clean water cirisi is one of the topics that was brought in the seminar in World Water Day 2011, held by the Environmental Engineering department on Friday (27/03/11) at the East Hall of ITB. Presenting thirteen environmental experts, the seminar discussed Integrated and Sustainable Water Resource Management to Adapt to Global Climate Change.

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