Access to piped water to be long-term strategy

Muddy groundwater in northern part of Jakarta (picture: Amrta Institute).


JAKARTA, KOMPAS – Good quality groundwater mapping in the northern Jakarta water basin or CAT Jakarta can help poor communities living in the area who have difficulty accessing clean water. However, the expansion of piped-water services using surface water sources still needs to be considered as a long-term goal.

"The main source for households and commercial activities is ideally from piped water, given that the water has been processed and distributed through closed piping channels," said Director of Amrta Institute Nila Ardhianie, when contacted on Monday (31/7). Moreover, if the piped water is processed from surface water such as rivers, lakes, or dams, groundwater use will be reduced so that the risk of land subsidence decreases.

However, the condition of piped water in Jakarta is still concerning. Based on Jakarta in Figures 2010-2016 from the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) processed by Amrta Institute, more than 60 percent of the water needs in Jakarta each year are fulfilled with groundwater extraction.

In 2000, residents and commuters in Jakarta were 10.48 million with the total water need of 995 million cubic meters. A total of 648 million cubic meters, or 65 percent, comes from groundwater. After 15 years, the number of residents and commuters reached 12.72 million and need 1.2 billion cubic meters of water. Groundwater is used to meet 63 percent of water need or 761 million cubic meters.

Therefore, Nila agreed with the proposal of Groundwater Conservation Center (BKAT). BKAT recommends that spots of good quality groundwater in the northern water basin to be utilized to meet the water needs of lower middle-income households.

BKAT is currently mapping good quality groundwater in northern Jakarta water basin. The team has so far obtained good quality groundwater spots from free aquifers in Pademangan, Koja, Kebon Jeruk, Joglo, Medan Satria, Babelan, Neglasari, and Pinang.

Head of BKAT Mochamad Wachyudi Memed said after the good quality ground water spots have been completely mapped, he will advise central and local governments to utilize groundwater as a source of clean water for residents living in surrounding area. The utilization could be in the form of public toilets and drinking water treatments.

Nevertheless, Nila asked such a strategy is not used as a long-term measure to reduce the risk of land subsidence. "We recommend that piped water services be prioritized in the northern part of the city because the groundwater is already limited," she said.

Wachyudi agreed with Nila. Groundwater will only be reserved. He hoped the government ensures that poor families can access piped water at affordable rates. This is due to expensive costs of improving piped water services.


Translated from Kompas Daily Newspaper, August 1, page 27.