4 Water Worries Jakarta Globe Saturday/Sunday, July 25/26, 2009
How Our Water Is Fouled on Its Way to the Tap
Jakarta’s dysfunctional water most polluted waterway. The garbage
and raw sewage of millions of people, Red Alert
funding, will be a model for both the
country and Southeast Asia.
system hurts the poor the most as well as waste from factories, is
dumped into the Citarum, and as
Government maps of how Jakarta’s
population has grown in a decade
Another proposal is a 70-kilometer
closed pipeline to deliver water from
some of the river is diverted into the and is projected to grow in the next. Jati Luhur, which would keep out
Report Joe Cochrane West Tarum, its toxins follow. Lightest blue areas are less than contaminants but cost $187 million.
Floating islands of waste block the 10% urban, darkest red over 90%
canal’s flow by up to 90 percent in Avoiding Hard Questions
urima’s days of A Grim and Dirty Journey some areas. Some canal water is also Infrastructure analysts say that
lugging water are The journey that ends in the buckets diverted for irrigation, meaning that government officials, after avoiding
over. Ever since that Nurima puts under her water polluted water is used to grow crops. Jakarta’s water problems for years,
the 49-year-old spigot begins about 85 kilometers to Then there are the human are now gung-ho about projects at
housewife moved the southeast, in the foothills of settlements, both legal and illegal, all levels. The reason, they say a bit
to the North West Java and the Jati Luhur along the canal itself. The homes, cynically, is because Indonesia now
Jakarta slum of reservoir and its two billion square restaurants, mini-factories and has a system of direct elections and
Utan Jati in 1980, meters of reasonably clean water. brothels all use the canal as a toilet, politicians have to answer to voters.
she’s faced the daily headache of By the time it reaches North shower, trash can, even burial site. Whatever the motivation, their
going out with jerry cans to buy Jakarta, as well as the fashionable On a recent visit, a Jakarta Globe timing is perfect. In April, Jakarta
clean water from the local water homes of Central and South Jakarta, reporter saw a headless chicken flow 2000 Governor Fauzi Bowo signed an
truck for cooking, drinking and the water is not potable. down the canal and disappear. order for a six- to 16-fold increase in
bathing her five children. The water gets increasingly filthy Frighteningly, 25 percent to 30 tariffs on groundwater extraction by
Those who couldn’t afford to buy as it travels down a 68-kilometer percent of water going into the city’s factories, hotels, offices, shopping
water from the syndicate of vendors canal filled with trash and human plants doesn’t meet official health malls and large homes.
— who charge 20 to 40 times more feces and into water treatment plants and quality standards for untreated The move, to make the tariffs
than what rich Jakartans pay for in the city, where it’s purified and water. “The feeling among the equal to the price of piped water, is a
piped water — used foul river water becomes drinkable again. But once it people who live along the river is first step in a multiyear process of
to wash their clothes or clean their goes into the city’s 5,500-kilometers that the river is their backyard,” said weaning the city off of groundwater,
houses, or begged for well water of leaky underground pipes, the Budhi Santoso, a senior staffer at the the overuse of which has caused
from neighbors. But for drinking water can be contaminated by National Development Planning some parts of Jakarta to subside by
water, they had no choice but to buy sewage, solid waste and salt water, Board (Bappenas). He jokingly noted 2009 as much as 25 centimeters a year.
from the vendors. making it undrinkable. the “helicopter” problem along the The World Bank warns that North
Even after PT Palyja, one of the “Jakarta is facing urbanization West Tarum — a nickname for the Jakarta could be overrun by sea tides
city’s two private water companies, that is straining its infrastructure. It makeshift wooden toilets hanging by 2018 if nothing is done.
installed a giant distribution tank is straining it beyond belief,” said over the banks of the canal. “In 1994, the World Bank said,
nearby a few years ago, Nurima, who Hongjoo Hahm, lead infrastructure Bappenas and the Asian ‘Stop the groundwater extraction.’
likes to wear brightly-colored jilbabs specialist at the World Bank in Development Bank are set to begin a [The city administration] didn’t
and even brighter red lipstick, still Jakarta. “Jakarta has to learn to live long-term — $3.5 billion over 15 to 20 listen,” Hahm said. “The message
needed a pushcart to get her jerry with water.” years — integrated rehabilitation hasn’t changed in 15 years.”
cans back home. No argument there. City dwellers program in the Citarum River Basin. Aside from the “sinking city”
Now, however, she and her can survive floods and build giant This will involve cleaning and problem, some of the city’s
neighbors need only walk over to the walls to block tides from the Java Sea repairing the banks of the river and freshwater aquifers have been
canal, relocating thousands of illegal 2020 unable to replenish themselves fast
wall of their ramshackle homes and from inundating their homes, but
turn a knob. Since March, piped they cannot survive unless they have squatters and launching a massive enough because of excessive
water has come to Utan Jati. clean water to drink. Jati Luhur antipollution education program for groundwater extraction. As a result,
“It’s so much cheaper,” Nurima reservoir is literally Jakarta’s lifeline, local communities. some city residents complain of
said, looking down at the shiny new supplying up to 60 percent of its “The story of the Citarum is seawater seeping into their wells.
water meter in her front yard, made water needs, but problems with its linked to the story of Jakarta,” Budhi Nani, a 33-year-old housewife
possible through a grant program long-term quality and consistent said. “If we have a good supply of raw who lives in North Jakarta, recalled
run by the World Bank and Palyja. “It
makes everything easier, and the
flow keep water experts up at night.
Water from the reservoir reaches
water, it will improve water quality
of homes in peeling soap off her children’s skin
during bath time due to the high
water is cleaner.”
Cheaper, yes, but really clean? Not
Jakarta though the West Tarum
Canal. However, it enters the canal via
There’s talk that the project,
scheduled to begin this year with an
Jakarta have level of salt in the well water. Now
her house has piped water.
exactly. the Citarum River, Java’s largest and initial infusion of $50 million in no piped water “For cleaning, we even used
The journey that ends in your bucket. From left: Much of Jakarta’s water gets its start in the Jati Luhur reservoir, before flowing into the trash-clogged Citarum River, where riverside toilets are a common sight. The water
Saturday/Sunday, July 25/26, 2009 Jakarta Globe Water Worries 5
groundwater,” she said, “even
though we knew it was salty.”
Government officials and water
experts say that Jati Luhur, with the
present state of its delivery system,
could not meet all of Jakarta’s water
needs if all groundwater extraction
came to a sudden halt. Shockingly,
only about 60 percent of Jakarta
homes are hooked up to piped water,
and as many as 30 percent rely solely
on groundwater. The rest are
dependent on water truck operators.
An immediate total ban on
groundwater extraction could cause
chaos due to water shortages, but
that is hardly worth worrying about
since a ban would be impossible to
enforce unless special teams went
door-to-door demanding that
residents shut down their wells.
“We cannot do it suddenly, it must
be done gradually,” said Iwan
Nursyirwan, director general for
water resources at the Ministry of
Even with a grace period of
several years, the city would still
need additional sources of surface
water for household demand. The
central government is currently
negotiating a loan from South Korea
to build a new reservoir in Karian,
West Java, to service Jakarta.
Private Sector Solutions
Bappenas is also promoting private-
sector infrastructure, noting that
there are currently 25 water-related
projects worth a total of $775 million
in various stages. The board’s aim is
to get private companies to build
and operate new reservoirs and
water delivery systems and sell
water in bulk to local governments.
“Our recent calculations show
that we lack infrastructure
development and will not reach our
[United Nations] Millennium
Development Goals by 2015 unless
we double investment,” said Bastary
Continued overleaf Buckets, wells and open troughs characterise daily access to water for many city-dwellers, including this family in Penjaringan, North Jakarta. JG Photo/Safir Makki
then flows into the city’s treatment plants, where most of the impurities are removed. But in most cases, Jakarta’s leaky system of pipes fouls the supply again before it reaches your tap. JG Photos/Safir Makki, Afriadi Hikmal
6 Water Worries Jakarta Globe Saturday/Sunday, July 25/26, 2009
‘The only way forward is to
expand the network and make
sure everyone has access to
piped water. Raising tariffs
— that’s the only solution.’
Philippe Folliasson, PT Palyja president director
From previous page Since the city signed contracts
with the two water providers in 1997,
Pandji Indra, director of Bappenas’s connections to Jakarta’s piped water
public-private partnership program. network have nearly doubled to
He noted that in the 1980s, during around 800,000. But the expansion
the Suharto era, the nation spent 5.5 effort is in danger of faltering because
percent of its gross domestic product the city hasn’t approved an increase in
on infrastructure development, but water tariffs in two and a half years.
only 2.2 percent over the past five Supporters of tariff increases
years. Malaysia spends 7 percent, by — who appear to be in the majority
comparison, and Vietnam 4 percent. both in and outside the government
“Electricity is a priority, but so is — note that the city’s poor who don’t
water,” Bastary said. “In Jakarta, have piped water pay 20 times more
Bandung, Bali, we will face a water than the current tariff rate to water Pipe-filled drums sold to them at relatively punishing prices are many people’s only access to clean water. JG Photo/Safir Makki
crisis in the next five years.” truck gangs, and inflation alone
Pay Up: How the Water Mafia Controls Access
There’s no shortage of skeptics dictates that rates must be increased.
about public-private partnerships “The only way forward is to expand
for water infrastructure. Some say the network, increase connections
that the idea is upside-down, that the and make sure everyone has access to
private sector shouldn’t be selling piped water,” Folliasson said. “Raising n the “neighborhood unit” called 60,000 a month, and it’s troubling pay around Rp 20,000 a month for
water to the government. Others say tariffs — that’s the only solution.” RW 12 in North Jakarta’s because we have to go back and forth piped water. Under the tariff
that Indonesia would be hard- Indonesia is not the only country Penjaringan district, residents and queue for water,” said Tona, 45, a program, they receive 15 cubic
pressed to find companies willing to to face this quandary, experts say. live in the most crowded area in housewife and mother of three. meters of water per month at the
invest $100 million to build a Globally, the poor pay far more for the capital, if not Indonesia. Leon Sumihar, who runs the Water lowest rate, Rp 1,050 per cubic meter.
reservoir unless they had the sole water because they must get it While a neighborhood for All program in the nearby Muara If they use more, the rate goes up.
authority to set bulk water tariffs, through informal sources. But they usually consists of several Baru neighborhood, said that preman Back in Penjaringan, RW 12 finally
which is obviously a touchy issue. also say that Indonesian politicians, hundred households, RW 12 is regularly threaten workers from his received connections for 60
“You can’t get the private sector specifically the Jakarta City Council, overflowing with 3,201 of them, company, Palyja, one of the city’s two households three months ago under
to put money in until they have are more worried about a backlash according to official figures. Based on privately-run water providers, who a program involving PDAM and the
security of contract and they can get from middle-class and high-income an average of four people per tiny are installing connections and meters International Development Research
a reasonable rate of return on their voters if their home water bills go up. house, there are at least 12,804 there under a World Bank program. Center of Canada. The program,
investment,” said Scott Younger, “These politicians somehow people crammed into these 23 “The preman operating water called the Communal Master Meter, is
president commissioner of Glendale believe that water should be free. … hectares, although one local aid sales are low income, low education similar to the one in Muara Baru,
Partners, a Jakarta-based project They have this skewed notion that worker estimated the population at and they don’t care about policemen. where residents get 24-hour piped
development and consulting firm. they are doing a public service by closer to 38,000. They don’t care about anybody,” water and are billed monthly. It was
He said that the city also needed keeping water prices artificially It’s no surprise that life in this Sumihar said. no easy task to convince water
to think more creatively about water low,” Bastary said. “But all they’re former swamp is pretty dismal. When the connection program vendors to accept the program.
sources, including rainwater. doing is preventing poor people from Seawater invades groundwater wells was launched in Muara Baru, a mob “It took us about a year because
Aart van Nes, a civil engineer who getting access to piped water.” due to excess extraction in North of gun-toting water vendors we had to approach and explain to
consults for the city administration Ahmad Lanti, the founding Jakarta, and pollution is frightening protested and smashed cars. They those people,” said Vincent
on water issues, noted that about half commissioner of Jakarta’s water because there is an almost complete refused to shut down their water Hermanus Pooroe, an urban water
of the water from Jakarta’s treatment regulatory body, said, “This is a very lack of sanitation facilities. selling businesses even after being and sanitation officer from Mercy
plants doesn’t even get to customers difficult puzzle. If you want to raise To add insult to injury, the offered compensation because the Corps, an international aid
because of leaks in the distribution the tariff on poor people to create city-owned water operator, PDAM, profits are so good. organization working in the area.
system and illegal hookups. equilibrium with rich people, there used to refuse to provide water The connection program finally Some local residents and aid
will be social unrest — even though connections to most of RW 12 because appears to have the upper hand in workers claim that PDAM staff are
Getting the Hookup they are paying more for vendor its residents are illegal squatters. Muara Baru, where residents now also unhappy with the master meter
Jakarta’s water supply is directly water. It’s a vicious cycle.” That’s the official line. Under the program because they received
linked to the ability of the city’s two Fortunately, more and more slum table, PDAM workers, however, have payoffs from the water vendors to
privately run water providers, Palyja dwellers are escaping. Water been known to install connections to allow them to stay in business.
and PT Aetra Air Jakarta, to hook up connections and meters subsidized anyone who can afford to pay, local “They’re afraid to lose their
more homes to piped water. by the Palyja-World Bank scheme residents say. Residential income, but they have enjoyed profits
“To expand coverage, you need are also being installed in Muara “entrepreneurs” — Jakarta’s for dozens of years. It’s time for
additional water. Even if you halt Baru, North Jakarta, arguably the legendary street mafia, or preman — people to enjoy cheaper water,” said
illegal connections and leakage, it’s city’s poorest area, despite threats of exploited the situation by selling Sutarman, a community leader,
not enough,” said Philippe Folliasson, violence from local water vendors. clean water to residents from their referring to vendors and the PDAM
president director of Palyja. Back in Utan Jati, Sriyati, 37, own illegal house connections. Water workers who exploited the situation.
proudly shows her June water bill of costs Rp 500 (50 cents) for a 19-liter As part of the program, an
Rp 20,000 ($2), about half what she jerry can or two full buckets, and Rp agreement was reached allowing
used to give to vendors. But it will 1,500 for a cart that holds 120 liters. vendors to continue selling their
take time for her to get used to the Programs by nongovernmental water while the majority of the
power of being a paying customer. organizations to connect such slums houses wait for connections.
“Last week there was a problem, to the city’s piped water system are The problem is that the water flow
of treated water often met with threats and sometimes is low, only about 12 cubic meters a day,
and we didn’t have any water for a
day,” she said. “We just waited.” violence by these low-end operators. which is less than the expected 17.4
leaks out before As a result, Jakarta’s poor pay 20 to 40 cubic meters from the initial design.
When told that she had the right to
call customer service to complain, times more for their water than rich One recent weekend, the water didn’t
getting to users residents who have a connection. Poor homeowners without metered flow at all, forcing residents to go back
she seemed stunned. Then she
smiled at the thought. “Our family spends about Rp connections pay more for water. to the vendors. Hera Diani
Saturday/Sunday, July 25/26, 2009 Jakarta Globe Water Worries 7
A Swelling City Is at the Root of the Problem
Checking development and January 1996, February 2002 and
February 2007 were particularly
migration are key factors in dreadful. In 2007, almost 60 percent
of the city was plunged into water up
fighting back rising waters to seven meters deep in some areas.
North Jakarta, where Sarini and
Ester live, bore the brunt of both the
Report Dewi Kurniawati 2002 and 2007 floods, when 39
percent of the district was under
water. Those floods, triggered by 72
arini sat at the When the water subsided, we all hours of continuous rain, finally
backdoor of her came back here. Where else could forced the central government and
one-room shack we go?” Sarini said. city officials to pay serious attention
beside the Sarini and her family are among to this recurring problem, but
deceptively calm more than 150 squatters living tackling urban flooding is incredibly
Muara Kali Adem alongside the Muara Kali Adem in complex. In a democratic era,
River in North this community. Across North however, city leaders can either do
Jakarta. Under a Jakarta, there are 43,480 something to tackle flooding or face
scorching sun one recent afternoon, households, or more than 150,000 being voted out of office.
the 40-year-old wrapped herself in a people, living in various squatter
discolored piece of batik cloth settlements, many of them near Nature vs. Mankind
displaying the motif of her native rivers and canals, according to an Tarjuki, the head of water resource
Indramayu in West Java. April 2008 report by MercyCorps, an maintenance with the city’s Public
She shares her home of used international aid organization. Works Department, says the factors
wooden planks with her husband Ester Rahayu also lives in North that cause the flooding issue are
and two children. Together, they’ve Jakarta, but the 48-year-old stock multilayered, and are underpinned
braved the wrath of the Muara Kali trader and a mother of two lives in by the fact that 40 percent of the city
Adem, including the great flood of the upscale Kelapa Gading area. She lies below sea level. Second, 13 rivers
2007, and they wonder when the also remembers the 2007 floods. “I enter and flow through the city from
next one will come. was on my way to take my son to Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi,
“I remember the last big flood. It school, but the car’s engine stopped, in West Java and Banten provinces.
was about 10 p.m. and suddenly the and then we had to walk in knee- Bad habits and sheer human
water level rose up to our chests. We high dirty water,” she said. pressure makes matters worse.
all rushed out, trying to save Unlike Sarini, Ester and her Floods like this one in Kelapa Gading in 2007, which submerged main roads and “We can always build new
ourselves,” she said. family were able to check into a dozens of blocks, are likely to continue unless development is halted. JG Photo infrastructure such as canals or Data
The residents of the illegal nearby hotel to escape the floods. dams, but in my opinion, it’s hardest
neighborhood, a squatter area on the Though the flood was traumatic and are linked by the massive flood that Planning Agency estimated to control people’s behavior, which
flood plain of the river, saved inconvenient, Ester said she is not hit the capital in early February 2007, economic losses from the flood at plays a major role in Jakarta’s
themselves that night by crawling to about to move out of Kelapa Gading. killing 52 people, displacing 450,000 Rp 8.8 trillion ($871.2 million). floods,” Tarjuki said.
safety through a hole in a thin wall “Floods are part of life in Jakarta — residents and leaving untold While Jakarta has been shaken Rapid urban development is really
separating the slum from an upscale where else do you want to go?” numbers sickened by illnesses by the occasional earthquake, the heart of the problem. As the
housing complex next door. Although they are worlds apart ranging from diarrhea to dengue flooding has so far been the city’s
“We built tents in the streets. — rich and poor — Ester and Sarini fever. The National Development gravest threat. Severe floods in Continued overleaf
8 Water Worries Jakarta Globe Saturday/Sunday, July 25/26, 2009
Lifeblood, but Life-Threatening ‘We are going to help by dredging the
The major rivers flowing into Jakarta all now have potential flood points as city’s rivers and canals, but if the city
inhabitation along the banks has grown so fast and the city has sunk so far.
doesn’t come up with good solutions
Banjir Kanal Barat Banjir Kanal Timur Plan
to the solid waste problem, within five
years we’ll be back at square one’
Mookevart North Drain
Cakung World Bank water expert Risyana Sukarma
Angke Central River
River From previous page management and environment previously unable to accept World
Grogol River South consultant at the World Bank. Bank help because central
Buaran River Suharto regime centralized the To make matters worse, Jakarta is government regulations prohibit
East economy, Jakarta increasingly sinking. Groundwater extraction from local administrations from
Krukut River became a destination for throngs of 140 meters deep or more by factories, accepting foreign loans for projects
Indonesians seeking a better life. In hotels, shopping centers and other unless it’s a revenue-generating
short order a city that was built by developments, as well as backyard venture. Officials worked around
Baru Barat (Pasar Minggu) Cipinang River Dutch colonizers to accommodate wells, has caused the land to sink by an the regulation by arguing Jakarta
800,000 people has been engulfed by average of 5 to 10 centimeters a year, could be spared billions of dollars in
Ciliwung River Baru Timur River more than nine million residents, and according to World Bank studies, and future flood damage, said Hong Joo
up to 12 million during the work week. up to 25 centimeters or more in the Hahm, lead infrastructure specialist
According to a World Bank worst-hit areas. at the World Bank in Jakarta.
report, around 250,000 people move Some areas have already sunk Dredging, however, is not enough,
2007: A Pattern of Disaster into the Greater Jakarta area each
year. This gives rise to growing
between one and two meters over
the past few decades. This
Hahm said. “To make Jakarta
flood-free, there are three more
Parts of Jakarta most prone to river-flooding are demonstrated by these squatter areas where people have subsidence reduces the capacity of major things to do,” he said. These
images of the catastrophic floods of early February 2007. Shown are areas scant access to infrastructure or the land to absorb rain and include building an 800-meter
of most flooding (in blue) and rivers with worst swelling ( in red) government services. floodwater, which in turn increases waterway connecting the East and
There are now more than 25 dependence on dikes and water West flood canals, and renovating
million people living in Greater pumps. the Manggarai sluice gate in South
Jakarta, which includes Bogor, Jakarta, the Cengkareng drain in
Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi. By Can Anything Be Done? West Jakarta and the Cakung drain
2020, that number is expected to For starters, a three-year emergency in East Jakarta.
balloon to 35 million. Unchecked dredging program, called the The city has also floated the
urbanization results in housing Jakarta Emergency Dredging possibility of a second landfill to lift
complexes and shopping malls that Initiative (JEDI) and nicknamed pressure on the one at Bantar
block or pave over natural catchment “No Regrets,” is slated to begin later Gebang in Bekasi, just outside
areas. this year. “We hope this will return Jakarta, which has reached 90
People like Sarini and her family, those rivers and canals to their percent of its capacity.
who can’t afford proper housing, original capacity,” said Tarjuki, an “That is very important because
simply squat along river banks and official with the Public Works on rainy days we can collect up to 10
find jobs as day laborers. Soon, these Department. huge dump trucks [worth of garbage]
mini-communities multiply. This The city administration is from rivers and canals,” Tarjuki said.
exacerbates water contamination allocating Rp 200 billion for “But I think it is more important to
Midnight, February 1 and flooding because squatters dredging at 76 locations, and the educate people to keep from littering
dump trash and human waste into World Bank will fund the rest with a in the rivers. Or not to litter at all.”
the waterways. $150 million loan. But it would be However, trouble is brewing
Over time, the rivers narrow due hard to blame city residents for their because the forthcoming dredging
to the accumulation of waste and silt, skepticism: for years, they’ve heard project also calls for relocating tens
their flows lessen, and ultimately claims from city officials that of thousands of squatters living
water overflows the banks. Experts dredging was going to be carried out illegally along riverbanks.
have said that if Jakarta’s rivers and or was already under way, but it “The problem is, these people are
canals had been dredged regularly, never happened. not scared of floods. They see
the number of people directly In its defense, the city was flooding as part of their lives,” said
affected by the 2007 floods would Ida Ayu Dharmapatni, a senior
have dropped from 2.6 million to operations officer with the World
only one million. Bank, which is helping the city to
Data from the Public Works tackle the sensitive relocation issue.
Department shows Jakartans The city will have to tread a fine
produce 30,000 cubic meters of solid line in enforcing the law without
waste per day, 1,800 cubic meters of violating human rights or creating a
Midnight, February 3 which ends up in rivers and canals. public uproar.
The city administration says it can “The most difficult problem is,
only remove about 1,400 cubic after we relocate them, they keep
meters a day, leaving 400 cubic coming back to the riverbanks,” said
meters of waste to accumulate every Heru Utara, head of public facilities
day in the rivers. for North Jakarta district.
Given that a cubic meter is Because relocation could take
equivalent to 1,000 liters of liquid, months or even years to resolve, the
that adds up to 400,000 liters of city agreed to begin dredging in
trash collecting in Jakarta’s rivers squatter-free areas first. As city
every day. It all adds up to a mess. residents already know all too well,
“We are going to help by the clock is ticking on this issue
dredging the city’s rivers and canals, because floods always recur.
but if the city administration doesn’t “I do hope the Jakarta
come up with good solutions to the administration does its best to
solid waste problem, within five overcome this problem,” said Ester,
years we’ll be back at square one,” Dredging mud at a flood-prone part the Kelapa Gading stock trader. “It
Midnight, February 5 said Risyana Sukarma, a water of the Ciliwung River. But is it enough? would definitely ease our nerves.”
Saturday/Sunday, July 25/26, 2009 Jakarta Globe Water Worries 9
Stilt houses built by squatters from scavenged materials surround the Pluit reservoir in North Jakarta. An estimated 150,000 people live illegally near the city’s waterways. Antara Photo
Dredging the Rivers Means Uprooting Thousands of Squatters
asemi recalls when she 150,000 people who live near squatters. The bank does not want to the law, we can wipe out those
first moved to the banks waterways illegally is costly and see people suffer injustice as a result squatters in a day,” said Heru Utara,
of the Pluit reservoir in difficult, city officials say. of river dredging. head of public facilities for the North
North Jakarta six years For now, people like Juliawati, 36, “If you affect people, you have to Jakarta district. “But this problem is
“In those days, I
who lives in the Pantai Indah Kapuk
area of North Jakarta, have no squatters living relocate them — this project should
not make them worse off,” said Ida
far more complex than that.”
Opting for the humane approach,
couldn’t eat anything,”
the 41-year-old said,
intention of moving. A native Betawi,
she has lived along the Muara Kali on the banks of Ayu Dharmapatni, a senior operations
officer at the World Bank who is
Heru said the city administration
needed massive funding to provide
recalling the stench coming from tons
of solid waste choking the reservoir’s
Adem River since 1990 with her
unemployed husband and family. Pluit reservoir involved in the relocation program.
She and her team are hoping to reach
low-cost housing for the Pluit
reservoir squatters. “It’s not ‘mission
gate, which lies about a meter from They eke out a living and say it’s the an agreement on resettlement with impossible,’ but where do we get the
the backdoor of the one-room shanty best they can find. city officials by September. money from?” he asked.
that is home to her and her husband, The city government has raided “Technically, if we have to enforce Heru cited a successful relocation
a bajaj (auto-rickshaw) driver, and the area several times, but the program under former Governor
their four children. “When I first community of about 600 people Sutiyoso’s administration in 2003, in
moved in here, the piles of solid waste keeps coming back. “Everything is which thousands of squatters were
were higher than my house.” free here. We don’t have to pay rent, moved from the banks of the Angke
Lasemi, who came to Jakarta from and we’ve got a water supply,” River to apartments in Cengkareng.
Central Java in 1995, is one of about Juliawati said. “This is far better than “To be able to do that again, we
20,000 squatters who live roaming the city streets.” need good locations and a huge
suspended over a portion of the But living free comes at a price. amount of funds,” he said.
reservoir. For the Rp 2 million ($200) Floods are a reality of life. The In Jakarta, however, building
the couple pay a year in rent, they get squatters survive by building their low-cost apartments near the Pluit
a close-up view of the reservoir gate shacks as high as they can with reservoir would be very expensive.
and the layers of garbage that clog it. scavenged planks. Building housing too far afield would
“We’re all used to floods,” she said. Juliawati and Lasemi likely do not be pointless because the squatters
The city government would like to grasp that they are partially to blame work near their homes and would
move Lasemi and other squatters for the flooding that plagues their balk at leaving their neighborhoods.
away from rivers and reservoirs as lives. Illegal settlements near Despite the potential hardships,
part of a World Bank-funded dredging waterways jam rivers with garbage many squatters still yearn for a fair
program to ease flooding. The bank, that leads to sedimentation, and dignified solution.
however, does not allow forced ultimately blocking the rivers’ flow. “We never dreamed of having this
relocation of squatters because such The Jakarta Emergency Dredging kind of life, and we will surely move
moves are considered to be Initiative, partially funded by a $150 out if the government can provide
impractical and inhumane. But million loan from the World Bank, Residents getting ferried out of Muara Baru in North Jakarta after a peak tide housing for us,” Juliawati said.
building new homes for the estimated mandates that the city resettle the inundated the area in January this year.. JG Photo/Afriadi Hikmal Dewi Kurniawati
10 Water Worries Jakarta Globe Saturday/Sunday, July 25/26, 2009
Poor Sanitation Means Illness and High Costs
A city drowning Southeast Asia,” published in August
2008 by the World Bank’s Water and
in its own filth, Sanitation Program, Indonesia loses
more than Rp 58 trillion every year,
Jakarta needs or the equivalent of Rp 265,000 for
every man, woman and child, due to
to address its lack of sanitation. Health and water
resources contribute the most to
sewage issues overall economic losses, as the public
is forced to seek medical treatment
more often and pay more for access
Report Hera Diani
to clean water.
The economic impact from
akarta is a two-faced illness alone is $3.3 billion per year.
city, people say. On Poor sanitation causes at least 120
one side are the million cases of disease and 50,000
modern office towers premature deaths annually,
and luxury shopping according to the World Bank report.
malls; on the other Diarrhea-related diseases are the
are overcrowded, most common, with 89 million cases
squalid slums. nationwide every year, followed by
No where is this contrast more skin disorders and trachoma, a
apparent than in Kelapa Gading, contagious bacterial conjunctivitis
North Jakarta. Right next to the that can lead to blindness.
Jalan Yos Sudarso overpass is Mal Poor sanitation also contributes
Artha Gading shopping center: significantly to water pollution,
attractive and colorful, embellished increasing the cost of safe water for
with giant animal figures. households and reducing fish
Next door, separated by just a Makeshift public toilets at Angke Beach contribute to pollution in North Jakarta’s waters. JG Photo/Afriadi Hikmal numbers in rivers and lakes. The
narrow street, is Pulau Kandang, economic cost of polluted water
where the blackened water of the Nurhayati said her children are Some 20 percent of Jakartans do team at the National Development attributed to poor sanitation is $1.5
Sunter Canal runs. On land that used prone to diarrhea and skin diseases, not even have access to a toilet, Planning Board (Bappenas), said 714 billion a year. In addition, the
to be a swamp stand dozens of especially during the flood season. forcing them to use whatever space tons of human waste go directly into country loses $1.2 billion annually in
houses on wooden stilts, which have The entire Kelapa Gading area they can find, according to the the ground or waterways each day “welfare losses” — the productive
to be patched frequently to prevent floods annually. Ministry of Public Works. The without being processed. “It’s equal time lost from having to walk to and
them from falling into the rancid The burden of poor urban ministry’s 2008 data showed that to 140 elephants, so go figure,” queue at public toilets.
water below. The ground is covered sanitation is something Nurhayati 1.46 million households in the capital Nugroho joked darkly. There is also an estimated loss of
in human feces and garbage. shares with millions of other dispose of raw sewage into closed $166 million a year in tourism as
“People here think that it’s OK to Jakartans, regardless of their gutters, 784,568 dump it into open Makeshift Infrastructure travelers warn others away from
throw garbage underneath their economic situation. Experts say that gutters, while 56,139 households Jakarta does have a makeshift places with poor sanitation.
houses, as the garbage will confusion about which government flush their waste directly into the system of gutters, but unfortunately Productive land lost to pollution adds
eventually harden and turn into body is in charge, lack of political ground or nearby rivers and canals. most are not connected to sewage another $96 million in annual losses.
soil,” said Aduma Lestari, a will and public awareness, as well as Nugroho Tri Utomo, head of the treatment plants. There’s only one Experts say that other major
sanitation engineer with the Tirta budget shortages, have led to a sanitation development technical treatment plant in Jakarta, located cities like Bandung, Solo, Denpasar
Lestari Foundation, a local NGO. shocking absence of modern and in Setiabudi, South Jakarta, and and Medan are in fact ahead of
Here, clean water is considered a clean public sanitation across the waste treatment facilities are only Jakarta because they have begun
luxury for residents, who are mostly capital. available in Pulo Gebang, East fixing and expanding their existing
garbage scavengers living on Rp It shows that the two-sided city Jakarta, and Duri Kosambi, West sewage systems. They also say the
20,000 ($2) or less a day, and so are analogy is much more than Jakarta. The waste from gutters is city’s administration has been slow
clean toilets, which are communal. cosmetic. Jakarta may look more channeled into the city’s 13 rivers or in moving sanitation up from the
Housewife Nurhayati, 32, her modern every day, but its sewage canals, causing massive pollution. bottom of its list of priorities.
husband and their two young system is still almost nonexistent. “Eighty percent of shallow water
children share a 1.5-square-meter Less than 3 percent of the entire city is polluted with E. coli bacteria, Fast Growth, Poor Planning
bathroom with three other families, — homes, offices, malls — has a indicating fecal contamination,” The paucity of sewage connections
splitting the Rp 100,000 monthly sewage connection, the second- Nugroho said. in Jakarta, experts say, is the result
water bill. lowest coverage in Southeast Asia As a result, he said, illnesses of bad urban planning and fast
“The water connection after the Laotian capital Vientiane, caused by poor sanitation are high, growth. Sewage systems should be
sometimes breaks, so we have to buy according to the World Bank. And it especially among children. built in the early stages of
it from a vendor for Rp 3,000 a is even worse than it sounds: Nationwide, children under the age development, but the only
bucket,” Nurhayati said. “Sometimes Vientiane’s population is less than of 5 suffer on average 2.5 cases of connections in Jakarta are in parts
we ask from a neighbor who has a 400,000, while Jakarta’s is more diarrhea per year. It inflicts a double of Kuningan and Sudirman districts.
drilled water well underneath his
house. But the quality is so bad that
than nine million.
The absence of a sewage system households whammy on poor families because
they lose income from lost work days
There have been efforts to
develop an underground piped
we have to filter it with sand. Still, it’s
has knock-on effects. With
dwellings relying on septic tanks flush their if they or their children are sick, and
they also spend more on health care.
sewage system. In 1991, the Jakarta
administration established a
The bathroom itself is said to be
connected to a septic tank, which is
that are often little more than
traditional pits or gutters, sewage straight And the sanitation crisis is not
confined to Jakarta alone — it is a
city-owned sewage company, PD
PAL Jaya. Not long after that, the
basically a pit. The waste is not
treated or processed at all.
contamination of groundwater is a
constant problem. into the ground nationwide problem. According to
“Economic Impacts of Sanitation in
city, working with the Japanese
International Cooperation Agency
Saturday/Sunday, July 25/26, 2009 Jakarta Globe Water Worries 11
Clockwise from left:
Children playing in the
polluted Ciliwung River.
JG Photo/Afriadi Hikmal
Residents living along the
flood-prone Sunter Canal.
Men fishing at Sunter Lake
in North Jakarta.
JG Photo/Safir Makki
will only become more complicated
Bappenas’s Nugroho said that
while a comprehensive system was
indeed costly to implement, it would
cost the city’s residents even more
not to have one.
“For every Rp 1 invested, the
benefit is Rp 11,” he said. “The failure
to overcome the sanitation problem,
however, will increase the cost by 36
First and foremost, the city must
adopt new regulations on sanitation,
and map out priority areas.
“There is yet to be a good
database on water and sanitation,
and the mapping is essential before
we come to planning and action,”
PAL Jaya’s Setyo said. “The master
plan must also be more detailed and
definitive, stipulating who’s in
charge, funding and so on. The
existing master plan only deals with
Nugroho said there should also
be alternatives to a citywide system,
such as a small-scale or communal
system for between 100 and 200
households that can be connected to
the larger central sewage system.
involves the central government,
local administration and community
sharing costs. Currently, this model
is being carried out in Bekasi, just
outside of Jakarta, and in other cities.
“We have to make slum areas a
priority because they are a high risk
for bad sanitation,” Nugroho said.
The city administration must
also address the problem of weak
law enforcement and poor oversight
of housing developments.
“The Jakarta administration
and World Bank, designed a master Rp 14 trillion — still far less than the Budi Yuwono, director general of should have been stricter with
plan for the project. nationwide economic losses caused housing at the Public Works developers. The existing [septic
“Nearly two decades have passed by poor sanitation. “It is indeed a lot Ministry, said while other cities tank] systems in Jakarta must be
but the master plan never came to of money, but it’s necessary given the were expanding their systems, monitored and fixed,” Nugroho said.
fruition,” said Setyo Duhkito, head of impacts on health and the authorities in Jakarta seemed “A sewer system must be water
the program and development environment,” he said. “However, indifferent and instead focused on resistant, there should be a
division at PD PAL Jaya. the Jakarta administration has never other infrastructure projects like minimum proximity from water
The first problem, he said, is the made it a priority, thinking that a roads and public transportation. wells and housing, and building
expense. A single connection costs sanitation project is only an expense “On the other hand, the issue of developers must be obliged to
between $600 and $800 a home, that doesn’t generate profits.” sanitation should not just be the develop small-scale wastewater
although the price goes down for Setyo also pointed to the responsibility of the local processing installations.”
each additional home hooked up to bureaucratic nightmare in which government, given the amount of Isabel Blackett, from the World
the system. city agencies overlap on sanitation budget needed,” Budi said. “The Bank’s Water and Sanitation
A heavily-traveled and densely issues, such as the Health and Public central government must increase Program, said a mixed approach was
populated urban area like Jakarta Works departments, and have investment in sanitation. At the needed for Jakarta, which means
would also require a special pipe limited direct contact. moment, there is no special budget different sewage systems being used
jacking system to build sewers in a “It’s very difficult to come up allocation for sanitation.” to supplement a main piped system.
way that would not disrupt traffic. with the same vision, like who’s “At this point, the central
to connect a
This system is also expensive, taking care of the funding and who’s Is There a Solution? government must interfere, given
costing between Rp 6 million and in charge of the technical part,” Jakarta, which celebrated its 482nd the magnitude of the problem,”
home to piped
Rp 10 million per meter of piping. Setyo said. “The bottom line is, the anniversary last month, cannot af- Blackett said. “Sanitation should not
Setyo estimated that the total commitment and awareness of the ford many more without a citywide be seen as a private matter, and you
investment needed for a citywide Jakarta administration is seriously sewage system, experts say, and de- cannot leave it to individuals. Strong
sewer system would come to about lacking.” velopment must start now. If not, it political support is needed.”