Discussing Water Quality Management and Water Pollution Control Strategy

Friday (19/1), Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL) in conjunction with Van Vollenhoven Institute (VVI) concluded their “Making Environmental Regulation Work for People” (MERWP) project by conducting the final seminar under the title of “Discussing Water Quality Management and Water Pollution Control Strategy”. In implementation, MERWP project is supported by International Development Law Organization (IDLO)

Six speakers were present to discuss the abovementioned topic comprehensively. Sri Parwati Murwanti Budisusanti, Director of Water Pollution Control from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry Republic of Indonesia (MoEF), presented Indonesian Water Quality Outlook mainly the prominent goal on improving water quality and reducing water pollutant load of 15 Priority Watersheds. She further deplored the strategy to meet the goal: 1) water pollution control for non-point sources is done through increasing the availability and usage of waste water management system as well as reducing pollutant load, and 2) for point sources the undertaken measures are improving compliance of industry, preparing water quality standards, and supervision.

Following Budisusanti, Rasio Ridho Sani, Director-General of Environmental and Forestry Law Enforcement from MoEF, emphasised important roles of law enforcement in ensuring the overall environmental quality. He explained that in general, environmental law enforcement can be addressed through: civil law, administrative law, and criminal law procedures. To carry out the task, the ministry is also supported by local environmental monitoring officers (PPLHD—red). Sani clarified, the principle of authority is based on the issuing institution, however, according to Environmental Act 2009, the ministry has second line inspection and second line enforcement authorities under limited circumstances. Unfortunately, the substantial work of law enforcement is constrained by limited human resource both in national and local level.

Supporting the overall aim to improve water quality, complementary approach was delivered by Dodi Krispratmadi, Director of Environmental Sanitation Development from Ministry of Public Works and Housing Republic of Indonesia (MPWH). He began from pointing out constantly growing trend of urbanisation as an influential phenomenon, “53% population at the moment inhabiting urban areas consequently increases the demand for clean water and healthier housing environment while on the other hand poses important challenges to urban environment.” In respond to those challenges, MPWH develops the concept of wastewater management strategy as stipulated in the MPWH Regulation on Operation of the Domestic Wastewater Management System (Peraturan Menteri Pekerjaan Umum dan Perumahan Rakyat Nomor 4/PRT/M/2017 tentang Penyelenggaraan Sistem Pengelolaan Air Limbah—red). The wastewater management system is divided into: 1) on-site system: where sheltering, processing is done locally before transported to final processing site, and 2) off-site system, wastewater treatment and pipeline network is centralised on certain scale.

Local experiences were also brought up in the seminar. East Java province, where the project took place, was represented by the Environmental Agency and Ecological Observation and Wetlands Conservation (Ecoton), a local civil society organisation. Diah Susilowati, Head of Environmental Agency of East Java Province, presented that Environmental Quality Index (IKLH) of East Java in 2016 was slightly rated above national target at 65%. However, 66,81% as the IKLH of East Java is also comprised of Water Quality Index (IKA) at the rate of 50,75% which falls far below average. According to the monitoring task her agency delivered, the condition is due to both domestic and industrial water pollution where 87,4% of water quality monitoring results do not meet BOD parameter. The severe condition has forced the agency to pull off intensive efforts ranging from complaint handling and law enforcement, development and maintenance of sanitation system, water quality monitoring, increasing the role of PPLHD, to working altogether with community in water patrol.

Prigi Arisandi, Executive Director of Ecoton, shared a number of water pollution control efforts performed by the community along Brantas River. Ecoton estimates, approximately three million of diapers waste are dumped into Brantas River daily. In response to that alarming condition, Ecoton takes this behavioural issue seriously. Ecoton exercises a thorough approach, in their astronaut’s suits, they scavenged the diapers waste along Brantas River and brought 70 kg of them to Government City Hall of Surabaya and Balai Besar Wilayah Sungai Brantas as their alarm for government to take immediate measures. More formal account is also taken, Ecoton is filing a citizen law suit against Governor of East Java for their negligence in taking measures towards diapers waste.

Concluding the discussion, Adriaan Bedner, Professor of Law and Society in Indonesia from VVI, reemphasised the primacy of administrative law in water pollution control as both community and government can actively take part. Government with its law enforcement authority can ensure the compliance through monitoring and imposing sanctions to polluters such as revoking environmental permits. Community can also contribute by exercising their rights to file a complaint and therefore help the government to perform its monitoring and further force to impose sanctions wherever the law is violated.

In advance of the discussion, the seminar was commenced by the launching of two handbooks which are written as a part of the project. The first handbook, Buku Pedoman Pengawasan dan Penegakan Hukum dalam Pencemaran Air, is addressed to government particularly the environmental monitoring officers in conducting their task. This project also presents, Panduan bagi Masyarakat dalam Penanganan Pengaduan tentang Pelanggaran Pencemaran Air, another handbook for civil society organisation to encourage and help community in filing complaints regarding water pollution.


Further information, please contact ICEL staff:

Shafira Anindia Hexagraha


: +62 817-2302-102 hexafira@gmail.com
Raynaldo Sembiring

(Deputy Director)

: +62813-7667-0167 raynaldosembiring@icel.or.id