By Irfan Zamzami

Researcher at Amrta Institute for Water Literacy

This article first appeared on The Jakarta Post


Jakarta Governor Basuki '€œAhok'€ Tjahaja Purnama has several times expressed his discontent with the performance of the city'€™s water services. He is, unsurprisingly, outspoken about the substandard service provided by private water operators, especially when it comes to water leakage levels.

However, the city administration has yet to take significant action regarding contract agreements between the city-owned water company PAM Jaya and two private water operators, Palyja and Aetra, which will determine the quality of water services delivered to residents of Jakarta.

The plan to take over water services from private operators was close to realization in January. The takeover was to be done through a share repurchase and Ahok stated that this would be completed before June.

In April, however, Ahok said that the city administration was not able to do anything about privatized water services in Jakarta because the court ruling on the legality of transferring responsibility for water services from private to public hands was still being challenged and this process may take many years to resolve.

Ahok'€™s reasoning is questionable. The citizens'€™ lawsuit against Jakarta'€™s privatized water service had been filed in 2013.

Indeed, when Ahok said that his administration would purchase the shares of private water operators, the administration was still in the middle of a lawsuit.

The situation remains mired in a legal dispute. Instead of waiting for another court decision that may take years to eventuate, the governor can and should take action now.

There are at least two feasible options available to Ahok to end the privatized landscape: through a share repurchase agreement, such as he declared in January, or through termination.

These two options ought to be seriously considered for several reasons. First, it has been a considerable length of time since the city administration first announced its plan to end privatized water services. This original plan was offered to the public in the era of then governor Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo in 2013 when he said that he would cancel the contracts with private firms. Two years and two governors later and the plan to do so has not gone anywhere.

Second, both share repurchase and termination by the first party ( PAM Jaya ) are lawful actions. In fact, these two options are provided for in the existing contract agreement with the private firms. There is no reason to believe that ending privatization through these options will harm the image of Jakarta as a sound city for investment.

Third, pursuing these options could save the city from massive financial losses. In 2011, the PAM Jaya director said that if the contract agreements with the private operators are continued until their listed expiry date in 2022, the financial losses borne by PAM Jaya will have accumulated to as much as Rp 18.2 trillion.

These losses are not the financial losses of PAM Jaya alone. Thanks to support letters issued by the governor and finance minister, PAM Jaya'€™s losses will be buttressed by public budgets.

It is simply logical to spend far less money now in covering the cost of terminating privatized water services and in so doing save the public budget from propping up financial black holes than in continuing a policy that will cost a great deal more and eventually devastate public finances.

Fourth, Jakarta would not be alone in terminating privatized water services. In fact, there is presently a growing global trend of governments ending privatized water services and bringing back public water management. Paris offers a prime example of this trend. Paris was once a city that operated under a privatized system.

It is the home of Suez Environment, the owner of 51 percent of shares in Palyja. In 2010, Paris decided to end its privatized water services and in so doing has saved 35 million euro and reduced 8 percent of tariffs in the first year of its public management operation.

According to an assessment by the Public Services Research Unit, from 2000 to 2014 alone, there were 180 cases around the world involving the return of water services from private to public management.

Among them, 136 happened in high income countries and 94 of the cases were caused by contract termination with the rest through share repurchase and contract expiration policies.

There is no significant reason for the capital to remain passive at this point. Once water management is returned to the public, Jakarta can begin using its resources to improve water services.

Until then, improvement in the quality of life in this area will prove illusory because exclusive rights to deliver water services will remain in the hands of private operators.

Indonesia merupakan pasar yang besar bagi penjualan Air Minum Dalam Kemasan (AMDK). Minimnya layanan air perpipaan siap minum dan semakin tingginya polusi air turut mendorong berkembangnya bisnis ini. Per tahun, asosiasi pengusaha AMDK Aspadin mencatat pertumbuhan konsumsi AMDK secara nasional mencapai lebih dari 11 persen.[1] Di daerah padat penduduk seperti Provinsi Jawa Tengah, pertumbuhan konsumsi AMDK bahkan bisa mencapai 30 persen.[2] 

Dalam bisnis AMDK inilah asing secara dominan terlibat dalam pengusahaan sumber daya air Indonesia. Merek-merek AMDK yang diproduksi swasta asing menguasai pasar. Di urutan pertama ada Aqua-Danone dengan pangsa pasar mencapai 42 persen. Pemegang saham mayoritas Aqua-Danone, yaitu sebesar 74 persen, adalah perusahaan asal Prancis, Danone.[3]

Berikutnya ada AMDK dengan merek Nestle Pure Life dengan pangsa pasar sebesar 10 persen. Pure Life diproduksi oleh perusahaan Nestle Indonesia, anak perusahaan awal Swiss, Nestle SA.[4] Produk AMDK yang juga memiliki pangsa pasar yang besar adalah Ades, yaitu sebesar 6 persen. Salah satu investor Ades yang terkemuka adalah perusahaan Amerika The Coca Cola Company.

Selain bisnis AMDK, swasta asing juga masuk dalam Sistem Penyediaan Air Minum (SPAM). Dalam bisnis SPAM, umumnya swasta asing masuk melalui skema Kerjasama Pemerintah Swasta (KPS) dengan Perusahaan Daerah Air Minum (PDAM). Badan Pendukung Pengembangan Sistem Penyediaan Air (BPPSPAM), sebuah lembaga di bawah Kementerian Pekerjaan Umum dan Perumahan Rakyat (Kemenpupera), mencatat ada 46 KPS di sektor SPAM.

Bentuk kerja samanya beragam, dari berupa konsesi untuk pengelolaan instalasi pengolahan air hingga konsesi penuh. Di Kota Medan, misalnya, anak perusahaan Suez, perusahaan air asal Prancis, mendapat konsesi untuk mengelola instalasi pengolahan air. Sedangkan KPS dalam bentuk konsesi penuh dapat ditemui di DKI Jakarta. Dua operator swasta, yang mayoritas sahamnya dimiliki perusahaan asing, mendapat hak penuh untuk menjalankan layanan air di DKI mulai dari mengolah air hingga mengalirkannya ke rumah-rumah warga.

Berdasarkan penelusuran sekilas Amrta Institute, di antara 46 KPS yang dicatat oleh BPPSPAM, setidaknya terdapat 10 perusahaan asing yang terlibat. Asal perusahaannya beragam, seperti Perancis, Singapura, Korea Selatan, Belanda, Inggris, dan Malaysia. Sebagian besar KPS yang melibatkan asing berjenis konsesi sebagian untuk pengelolaan instalasi pengolahan air dan jaringan pipa.

Tabel 1. Daftar perusahaan asing yang terlibat dalam KPS SPAM

No. Nama Perusahaan Lokasi Jenis kerja sama Asal investor
1. PT Pam Lyonnaise Jaya DKI Jakarta (bagian barat) Konsesi penuh Prancis
2. PT Aetra Air Jakarta DKI Jakarta (bagian timur) Konsesi penuh Singapura
3. PT Aetra Air Tangerang Tangerang Konsesi penuh Singapura
4. PT Adhya Tirta Batam Batam Konsesi penuh Inggris
5. PT Hyundai Inti Development Kawasan industri Hyundai Cikarang BOO untuk WTP dan jaringan pipa Korea Selatan
6. PT Tirta Lyonnaise Medan Medan BOT untuk WTP Prancis
7. PT KTDP & PT WFI Pekanbaru Operasi gabungan Belanda
8. PT Bali Bangun Tirta (Berjaya Sdn Bhd) Gianyar, Bali RUOT untuk WTP Malaysia
9. PT Taman Tirta Sidoarjo (Badang Bhd) Sidoarjo, Kecamatan Taman BOT untuk WTP Malaysia
10. PT Hanarida Tirta Birawa (Gadang Bhd) Sidoarjo, Kecamatan Taman RUOT untuk WTP dan jaringan pipa Malaysia

KPS dengan konsesi penuh dijalankan di DKI Jakarta, Tangerang, dan Batam. Jumlah ini memang sangat sedikit dibandingkan dengan total PDAM di Indonesia yang mencapai 394 PDAM. Namun, tiga konsesi ini melibatkan populasi yang besar. Di Jakarta, layanan air swasta menjangkau 6 juta penduduk;[5] Tangerang 254.000 penduduk;[6] dan Batam 657.000 penduduk.[7]

Skala persoalan layanan air bisa lebih besar lagi. Dampak suatu layanan air bukan hanya dialami oleh populasi yang telah menerima layanan, melainkan pada seluruh populasi. Seperti contoh kasus di Jakarta. Saat kinerja operator swasta buruk sehingga hanya dapat menjangkau separuh populasi, maka separuh populasi yang lain tidak mendapatkan akses terhadap air bersih. Padahal, dengan swastanisasi, pemerintah tidak dapat banyak berbuat sekalipun warganya mengalami kesulitan air. Hal ini karena hak eksklusif untuk memberikan layanan air sudah terlanjur diserahkan pada swasta asing.

Kekhawatiran terhadap maraknya keterlibatan swasta asing lantas muncul dalam Rancangan Peraturan Pemerintah (RPP) Pengusahaan Air. Di Pasal 13 RPP ini, secara spesifik disebutkan bahwa “badan usaha swasta” yang dilibatkan dalam pengelolaan air adalah badan usaha yang menggunakan modal dalam negeri.[8] RPP ini diterbitkan sebagai respon atas dibatalkannya UU No. 7 Tahun 2004 tentang Sumber Daya Air. Menteri Pekerjaan Umum dan Perumahaan Rakyat menyatakan penerbitan PP Pengusahaan Air adalah upaya untuk mematuhi putusan MK dan untuk meningkatkan pengelolaan air oleh negara.

Din Syamsudin, ketua PP Muhammadiyah, yang juga sebagai pemohon dalam uji materi UU No. 7 Tahun 2004 tentang Sumber Daya Air, menyambut baik RPP Pengusahaan Air tersebut. Din menyatakan pihaknya menolak keras terhadap pelibatan swasta asing dalam pengelolaan air.[9]

Meskipun demikian, sementara RPP Pengusahaan Air belum diterbitkan, investasi di bidang sektor air, termasuk investasi dari asing, masih tetap berjalan. Kepala Badan Koordinasi Penanaman Modal (BKPM) menyatakan bahwa investasi di bidang sektor sumber daya air tetap dijamin kepastian hukumnya. Pengusaha yang telah mendapat Surat Izin Pengambilan Air (SIPA) tetap mendapat jaminan usaha.[10]

Sebanyak enam izin investasi di bidang sumber daya air dilimpahkan oleh Kemenpupera kepada BKPM dan belum dicabut hingga saat ini. Pelimpahan dalam pemberian izin akan dicabut jika sudah ada peraturan yang melarang keterlibatan swasta asing. Menurut catatan BKPM, selama 2014 realisasi investasi di sektor sumber daya air dari Penanaman Modal Asing (PMA) sebanyak 54 proyek dengan nilai sebesar US$24,61 juta. Sementara itu, penanaman modal dalam negeri sebanyak 18 proyek dengan nilai Rp875,72 miliar.

Kemenpupera, melalui Surat Edaran Nomor 85/PUU-XI/2013, juga menjamin tetap berlakunya kontrak kerja sama antara pemerintah dengan swasta yang masih berlangsung.[11] Enam prinsip pengelolaan sumber daya air yang menjadi dasar putusan MK dijadikan sebagai prinsip dalam melakukan renegosiasi kontrak atau untuk memberi izin pengusahaan air baru. Surat edaran hanya menyebut soal swasta, namun tidak dibedakan antara swasta dalam negeri atau asing.
Sejumlah kalangan beranggapan tidak perlu adanya pembatasan terhadap pelibatan swasta asing dalam pengelolaan air. Namun, arus mayoritas sedang mengarah pada penolakan keterlibatan swasta asing. Seperti disebut sebelumnya, Kemenpupera dan pihak pemohon pengujian UU SDA sama-sama menyatakan dukungan pada pelarangan keterlibatan swasta asing dalam pengelolaan air.

Keberadaan swasta asing dalam pengelolaan air adalah salah satu persoalan pokok dalam uji materi UU Sumber Daya Air. Pemohon, yang terdiri dari organisasi dan tokoh terkemuka, menyoal dominasi swasta dalam pengelolaan air di Indonesia yang sudah mengkhawatirkan. Kekhawatiran ini bukannya tidak beralasan. Ini dapat dilihat dari privatisasi layanan air Jakarta yang dijalankan oleh operator swasta yang dimiliki secara mayoritas oleh investor asing. Perusahaan asing praktis dapat menentukan naik turunnya tarif dan keuntungan yang dapat diperoleh atas sumber daya yang menguasai hajat hidup orang banyak, sementara pemerintah dibuat tidak berdaya dalam memeperjuangkan kepentingan rakyatnya sendiri.

Hal ini tidak akan berlangsung lama. Putusan MK dan RPP Pengusahaan Air akan mempersulit ruang gerak swasta asing dalam pengelolaan sumber daya air Indonesia. Pengaruhnya terutama akan dirasakan sektor industri AMDK yang didominasi oleh asing. Sementara di sektor sistem penyediaan air minum, ini akan menjadi momentum bagi PDAM untuk meningkatkan layanan air untuk memenuhi hak atas air warga sesuai dengan amanat Konstitusi.



[1] http://industri.kontan.co.id/news/penjualan-air-minum-kemasan-tetap-segar
[2] http://kabar24.bisnis.com/read/20130418/78/9556/bisnis-air-kemasan-banyak-pabrik-masuk-jateng-aspadin-pede-pertumbuhan-naik-30
[3] http://aqua.com/tentang_aqua/nilai-luhur?ref=pencarian#2001
[4] https://www.nestle.co.id/ina/tentangnestle
[5] Jangkauan layanan 50%, populasi 12 juta.
[6] Jumlah pelanggan 72.000 dikalikan dengan rata-rata jumlah anggota keluarga menurut BKKBN sebesar 3,53 orang per keluarga
[7] Jumlah sambungan 186.092 dikalikan rata-rata anggota keluarga menurut BKKBN sebesar 3,53
[8] http://www.beritasatu.com/kesra/276899-rpp-pengusahaan-air-tutup-celah-asing-di-indonesia.html
[9] http://news.okezone.com/read/2015/05/25/338/1154566/din-syamsudin-pemerintah-harus-tegas-soal-bisnis-air
[10] http://www.republika.co.id/berita/koran/financial/15/03/06/nksbbv-bkpm-jamin-investor-industri-sumber-daya-air
[11] http://sda.pu.go.id/index.php/peraturan-dan-perundangan/file/215-surat-edaran-menteri-pupr-04-se-m-2015

Soon after the court ruling, however, the private water operators denied that they had been negligent in fulfilling Jakarta residents’ human right to water and appealed to the High Court in addition to lobbying the central government to secure their business in water services.[1] The central government also challenged the court ruling in April 2015, arguing that it will cause legal uncertainty and affect other key government projects.

These actions have effectively deterred Jakarta’s municipal administration from taking back water services, as the contract agreements that give private operators an exclusive right to deliver water services remain in effect. It appears that the private operators are buying time through legal tactics in order to maintain the concession contracts until their expiry in 2022. The Central Jakarta District Court ruling is the result of a class action lawsuit filed by residents of Jakarta in November 2012 to denounce water services privatisation. The defendants include the central government, the city’s administration and water utility, and the private water operators. The court ruled in favor of the residents of Jakarta when it declared that the defendants had been negligent in fulfilling the human right to water of Jakarta residents, annulled the contract agreements, and ordered the government to return water services to public management.

The government should respect this ruling to achieve the human right to water instead of challenging it. Universal access to safe drinking water is a human right recognised by the United Nations through resolution 64/292. Water is a vital human need and everyone must have access to safe drinking water.

The reality of Jakarta residents is far from that. People experience difficulties in accessing safe drinking water. This situation is primarily caused by the poor performance of private water services, which barely reach half of the population.[3] Even those who have been connected to the piped water network get insufficient quantity and poor quality water: service outages happen regularly; and residents often receive piped water that is muddy. The failure to improve water services, which limits access to safe water, is a potential case of violation of the right to water.

Instead of following a right to water approach, water services in Jakarta tend to be profit-oriented. It has been particularly so since the government granted water services contracts to two private firms, Palyja and Aetra, in 1997. Water tariffs have increased significantly. At the beginning of the concession, the average water tariff in Jakarta was US$ 0.12 per cubic meter; currently, it is US$ 0.51 per cubic meter. Compared to Surabaya, the second largest city in Indonesia, the Jakarta water tariff is three times more expensive. Most of the tariff hikes occurred under the Automatic Tariff Adjustment policy issued by the government as a result of the private firms’ pressure for higher rates.

In addition, the privately managed water network is highly inefficient, with 44 per cent of water lost before reaching taps. Not to mention the frequent service interruptions. In 2013 alone, the city’s water utility PAM Jaya reported nearly 40,000 complaints regarding tap water outages. [3]

“We residents could not take a shower for three days. Just ask the others, they can’t take a shower either,” said Ida (40), a resident of Cengkareng, West Jakarta, referring to a water outage in April 2014.[4]

“We've asked personnel of Palyja (one of the private operators) in Penjaringan why the water stops running for days, but they said they didn’t know about the water outage. It's very frustrating, how can Palyja’s personnel not know the cause?” said Nadi, a resident of North Jakarta.[5]

Water outages are even worse in the poor areas. People have to compensate by buying water in jerry cans at a much higher price. They usually spend up to Rp 15,000 (US$ 1.06) per day, which is very expensive in a setting where daily income is less than Rp 30,000 (US$ 2.12).[6]

For all these reasons, residents and civil society organisations demand that the government take back water management from the private operators in order to fulfill the people’s right to safe drinking water. Although the Jakarta state government has agreed[7] and taken steps to bring water management back in public hands at an earlier stage,[8] recent events indicate that the central government, for its part, will uphold global water companies’ interests rather than protecting Jakartans’ public health. It is high time that the central and state governments comply with the court ruling and listen to its people, and commit to building a reliable water system. They have to stop relying on Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), which have proven a failure over the last 18 years. They should remind themselves that states are duty-bearers of water and sanitation service provision and need to take action.



[1] Sulistiowati, Tri, “Palyja dan Aetra Lobi Pemerintah Pusat”, Kontan, 25 May 2015,http://nasional.kontan.co.id/news/palyja-dan-aetra-lobi-pemerintah-pusat
[2] “Hampir 40 Ribu Warga Jakarta Keluhkan Air Mati”, JPNN, 30 December 2013,http://www.jpnn.com/read/2013/12/30/208221/Hampir-40-Ribu-Warga-Jakarta-...
[3] Ibid.
[4] Hadi, Feryanto, “Warga Rawa Buaya Tiga Hari Tidak Mandi Karena Air Palyja Mati “, Tribun News, 8 April 2014, http://wartakota.tribunnews.com/2014/04/08/warga-rawa-buayatiga-hari-tid...
[5] “Air PAM Mati, Warga Tamansari Kekeringan”, Suara Pembaruan, 26 September 2011,http://sp.beritasatu.com/home/air-pam-mati-warga-tamansari-kekeringan/11656
[6] Rizki, Mochamad Faizal, “Faisal Berharap Pengelolaan Air Bersih Kembali ke Warga”, Tribun News, 28 June, 2012, http://www.tribunnews.com/metropolitan/2012/06/28/faisal-berharap-pengel...
[7] Dewi, Sita W. and Tertiani ZB Simanjuntak, “Jokowi to Cancel Contracts with Water Firms”, The Jakarta Post, 28 March 2013, http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2013/03/28/jokowi-cancel-contracts-wi...
[8] Hairani, Linda, “Ahok Calls on PD PAM Jaya to Acquire Palyja, Tempo, 26 January 2015,http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2015/01/26/057637558/Ahok-Calls-on-PD-PAM-J...

In 24 March 2015, Central Jakarta District Court annulled the contract agreement between Jakarta public water utility PAM Jaya and two private operators. The contract has been the basis of water services privatization in Jakarta since 1997. The court ruling is taken on a citizen lawsuit filed by civil society coalition in 2012. The court ordered the government to return the water services to public management.

Months earlier, in 18 February, the Constitutional Court annulled Law No. 7/2004 on Water Resources. The Water Resources Law was petitioned by several civil society organizations and individuals because it opened water resources to privatization and commercialization. The Constitutional Court reinforced the constitution’s mandate. The water should be controlled and utilized by the state for fulfilling the people’s right to water.

However, despite these momentums, water privatization is not easily ended. Both decisions have been addressed aggressively by the private sector. As the result, the regulation that is due to replace the annulled Water Law, which was going to restrict foreign private entities from participating in water sector, has been relaxed. [1]

The same case happens in the privatization of water services in Jakarta. Soon after Central Jakarta District Court issued its decision, the private water operators stated that they seek to appeal to High Court. This has effectively deterred the city administration from taking over water services, as the contract agreements that give private operators an exclusive right to deliver water services is still effective.

Private water operators had reportedly lobbied the central government, namely Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Public Works, which are among defendants in the citizen lawsuit.[2] The central government, including President, Vice President, and Ministry of Finance, currently seek to challenge the court ruling. Ministry of Public Works has been confirmed withdrawing the submission for appeal. 

Civil society coalition KMMSAJ, which is the plaintiff in the citizen lawsuit, regrets the central government’s move, calling it an indication of the government’s allegiance to private firms instead of its own people (Kompas, 13 April 2015). Arif Maulana, one of attorneys to the plaintiff, said that the court’s ruling is in accordance with the constitution and private operators will benefit the government’s appeal.

Coordinating Minister of Economy, Sofyan Djalil, negatively responded the court ruling. Sofyan said that the court ruling has caused legal uncertainties and will affect other government’s important projects (Kompas, 16 April 2015). According to Sofyan, the legalities of contract agreements should be guaranteed. Should a problem arise, contracts should be renegotiated instead. This is the main reason why central government is lodging an appeal to High Court.

Other defendants including Governor of Jakarta and public water utility PAM Jaya do not make an appeal. PAM Jaya stated that it was ordered by the Governor to not to appeal. Consequently, it makes a total of five defendants making an appeal, namely President, Vice President, Minister of Finance, Palyja and Aetra.

Besides legal actions, private water operators have also been committing soft approaches in a bid to protect their business. Private operators offer innovations in water management. In 12 May, Aetra invited the governor to introduce a sludge management machine as part of the operator’s Rp196 billion investments in 2015.  [3]

Days later, in 19 May, Palyja took turn to invite the governor to introduce a new technology for collecting raw water with so-called Moving Bed Bio-film Reactor (MBBR), claimed to be the newest technology used in Asia.[4] President Director of Palyja said that the technology would increase the service coverage area to 95%.

In a recent development, in 30 June, the Governor appointed a new president director for PAM Jaya. The new director was previously a director in PT Jakpro, a company that was once designed to take over one of the private water operators’ shares. Jakpro is a state-owned enterprise but planned to keep water operator profit-oriented as in privatized system.[5]



[1] Amianti, Grace D, “Govt relaxes water rules to allow private ownership”, The Jakarta Post, June 30 2015, http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/06/30/govt-relaxes-water-rules-allow-private-ownership.html
[2] Sulistiowati, Tri, “Palyja dan Aetra Lobi Pemerintah Pusat”, Kontan, May 25 2015, http://nasional.kontan.co.id/news/palyja-dan-aetra-lobi-pemerintah-pusat
[3] Aziza, Kurnia Sari, “Ahok Resmikan Gedung Teknologi Pengolahan Lumpur Aetra”, Kompas, May 12 2015, http://megapolitan.kompas.com/read/2015/05/12/11434121/Ahok.Resmikan.Gedung.Teknologi.Pengolahan.Lumpur.Aetra
[4] Sukarno, Puput Ady, “Ahok Resmikan Instalasi Pengambilan Air Baku Palyja”, Bisnis Indonesia, May 19 2015, http://jakarta.bisnis.com/read/20150519/77/434677/pasokan-air-minum-ahok-resmikan-instalasi-pengambilan-air-baku-palyja
[5] Elyda, Corry, “Jakpro to keep Palyja profit-oriented firm”, The Jakarta Post, April 19 2014, http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/04/19/jakpro-keep-palyja-profit-oriented-firm.html