Public Discussion “A Long Way to Implement Water Quality Recovery in Indonesia” #1

Jakarta | ICEL together with IDLO held a public discussion “A Long Way to Implement Water Quality Recovery in Indonesia” at the Morrisey Hotel. In the discussion present as guest speakers Head of the Hydrology and Water Quality Section of the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing Dr. Eng. Idham Riyando, S.T., M.Eng, Environmental Director of Ministry of National Development Planning/Bappenas Ir. Medrilzam, M. Prof. Econ, Ph.D., Director of Water Pollution Control of the Ministry of Environment Luckmi Purwandari, S.T., M.Sc., and a number of CSOs/other Communities. Thursday (24/10/2019).


Poor water quality to this point is still a scourge for Indonesia. Based on National Geographic Indonesia’s data from a report released by the Directorate General of Pollution and Environmental Damage Control of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, in 2015 nearly 68 percent or the majority of river water quality was in a heavily polluted status in 33 provinces. Factory waste, domestic waste, mining industry waste, agricultural waste, and pond waste play a major role in river water pollution in Indonesia. The contents of Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD), Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), Fecal Coli, total Coliform, and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) are found in rivers that are polluted by sewage and are harmful to the health of the people around the river flow. The main causes of these wastes are polluting water due to poor management of water, such as the development of urban areas that are not based on spatial policies and lack of infrastructure for waste management.


The Government through the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MOEF) in 2015-2019 has launched a water security improvement program that is based on concerns over the declining water quality in various rivers, the lack of water availability to support food and energy security, and the high frequency of floods and landslide. Through the water resilience program, MOEF established 15 watersheds that are priorities in improving water security, namely: Citarum watershed, Siak watershed, Ciliwung watershed, Asahan Toba watershed, Serayu watershed, Jeneberang watershed, Solo watershed, Saddang watershed, Brantas watershed, Moyo watershed, Cisadane watershed, Way Sekampung watershed, Kapuas watershed, Limboto watershed and Musi watershed.


Henri Subagiyo in his remarks stated that ICEL appreciated the programs carried out by the government including the establishment of 15 watersheds to be made a priority of recovery. “At present the issue of national water resources is increasingly complex both in terms of water availability/quantity and water quality. Especially with the emergence of various symptoms of climate change that affect the condition of water resources, including rainfall, sea level,” said Henri.


“The complexity of the problem requires a lot of reform agenda going forward, including: (1) improving governance (such as institutions, authorities that still overlap with one another and financing); (2) availability of infrastructure to control pollutants such as domestic and industrial WWTPs, non-point sources, and waste management facilities; (3) availability of data from regular monitoring results (valid, accurate, fast) to conduct early detection in order to make policies and take immediate action; (4) changes in community behaviour which currently do not provide optimal support for the prevention of pollution (domestic waste); (5) development of compliance instruments both economically by applying various environmental principles, one of which is the polluters pay principle and law enforcement; and (6) strengthening consistency not to issue a waste disposal permit when Pollution Load Capacity (DTBP) has been exceeded,” Henri continued.


Declining Water Quality


“In my opinion, the water quality index (IKA) is currently stagnant, and we admit that the water problem is indeed very complex. These qualities and quantities are related to one another. Especially at this time there are a lot of water pollutants from various activities such as mines, gold mines in the river and others so that at this time water quality tends to decline,” explained the Environmental Director of Ministry of National Development Planning/Bappenas Ir. Medrilzam.


Still in the presentation of Medrilzam, the results of our observations, at a macro level, the quality of water has reached the set quality standard. And we must do a massive recovery. And we have done a lot of recovery efforts, one of them by issuing recovery in 15 which is a priority at the moment. But until now the recovery effort has not been able to show encouraging things. Because a lot of obstacles that occur in the field. Starting from the difficulty of coordination from the institutional side itself, besides that, even in this water problem we must be able to see a number of other sides starting from the economic problems, and in social aspects. These other sides must also be seen in the side of managing the recovery.


KHLS data in the 2020-2024 RPJMN revealed the availability of water at the island scale, in certain regions in 2000, the level of water availability began to show a degree of scarcity, especially Java. Until 2045, the level of water availability in the regions of Java, southern Sumatra, Bali, West Nusa Tenggara, southern Sulawesi, has been at a rare/critical level.


Image Source: Guest Speaker Material of National Water Quality Resilience & Recovery Policy (red and yellow indicate critical)


In addition, climate change will also affect the availability of water in Java and Balinusra if there is a dry season it will become very dry and when it is wet it will stay wet. Estimates from climatologists, BMKG and extreme weather experts will often occur for the next few years. This will affect changes in temperature, sea level, and causes rainfall will change completely. If this happens, our water availability will also be disrupted. If conditions continue like this in 2045 water sources on several islands will experience critical. (Dona)

Image: Estimated water source until 2045. Image source KLHS RPJMN 2020-2024.