A report produced by PAM Jaya shows that as of December 2004, only 3,041,999 residents, or 34 percent of the city’s total population of 8.7 million, have access to treated tap water, leaving the majority reliant on ground water.
Here at Jakartass Towers on the southern outskirts of the city we’ve got a well which produces enough water for our daily needs. It’s relatively clean with a bit of grit and tastes okay after boiling, although we do have a large bottle and dispenser for when we have power cuts ~ our pump needs electricity.
Further north, the extraction of (under) ground water is such that Jakarta is sinking and sea water is seeping in.
PT PAM Lyonnaise Jaya warned on Friday that unless the government found new water sources, the capital could suffer a severe water crisis as early as 2008.
However, experts disagree.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a hydrologist with the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT), said there was nothing to worry about. “Jakarta has great potential to benefit from the use of untapped ground water resources in the upstream areas, like in Puncak and Bogor in West Java, where water is abundant. Channeling ground water from the upstream areas would be cheaper than using costly treated river water.”
The problem is that reservoirs take water which would otherwise become groundwater, that is if the surrounding hills of Puncak hadn’t been denuded of trees in order to build resort complexes for Jakartans to use at weekends. This deforestation is also also a major cause of the regular flooding here after a cloudburst.
Sutopo continued: “It’s our own fault as we never seriously took into account the issue of water conservation when we started developing the city. No wonder that now we see the city’s water supplies reaching critical point.”
Ah, water conservation. Now there’s a good idea. Any visitor to Jakarta in the hot dry season should be as bemused as I am at the sight of gormless servants idly hosing down the streets whilst gossiping away with all and sundry and the vast amount of water wasted to keep cars nice and shiny for the traffic jams that lie in waiting.
Or are humans lemmings?
It is rumored that lemmings intentionally self-destruct (sacrifice themselves) by jumping off cliffs or running into rivers to drown when population exceeds available resources. If lemmings talk to one another, what do they say?