Bali warned of severe drought

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has warned Bali that a severe drought could become widespread on the island, including in some tourist spots, within months.

"Several areas are experiencing drought in many areas in Bali. It could worsen," BNPB spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told journalist in Kuta on Tuesday.

Sutopo said water shortages would become severe in Bali, as well as on Java Island and West and East Nusa Tenggara provinces.

Data from the Bali Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) shows that four regencies are experiencing drought: Buleleng in northern Bali, Karangasem in eastern Bali, Klungkung and Bangli.

In Buleleng, drought has hit three subdistricts: Tejakula, Sukasada and Gerokgak. In Karangasem, Kubu, Abang and Karangasem subdistricts have been affected, while in Klungkung, drought has hit Nusa Penida subdistrict, which is made up of three islands: Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. In Bangli regency, drought has hit Kintamani and Tembuku.

Hundreds of thousands of people living in those areas are facing difficulty getting clean water for daily use. Hundreds of hectares of rice fields have reportedly dried up.

Based on the latest Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) weather forecast, areas that will not get rain for 30 days or more are Buleleng, western Jembrana regency in western Bali and southern Denpasar. The BMKG also forecast that rain would not fall for at least 60 days in Buleleng, Bangli, Jembrana, southern Badung regency and popular tourist spots such as Kuta, Tuban, Jimbaran and Pecatu.

Sutopo said the dry season would be prolonged and last until the end of the year as a result of the El Niño climate phenomenon affecting the equatorial Pacific region.

"The BMKG predicts that El Niño will affect areas south of the equator. The dry season will be more severe as rainfall will be extremely low until the end of this year," he said.

Meanwhile, after more than a fortnight of rain, Riau has been hit by hot weather again, followed by the return of hot spots.

"Riau was recently declared free of hot spots thanks to even rainfall across the province. Actually, low and medium intensity rain, followed by lightning and strong winds at noon and in the afternoon remains possible, but the weather will be hot in Riau this week," Pekanbaru BMKG head Sugarin said on Tuesday.

Based on Pekanbaru BMKG data, satellite images revealed on Tuesday morning that there were 20 hot spots in four regencies. The majority were in Indragiri Hulu regency, where 10 hot spots were detected, followed by Kampar with four.

Three hot spots were detected in both Kuantan Sengingi and Pelalawan regencies. "There are indications that 12 of the hot spots are land and forest fires. We are 70 per cent certain of this. Actually, two hot spots were detected Kampar, Kuantan Sengingi and Pelalawan, plus five in Indragiri Hulu," said Sugarin.

"On Monday morning, a hot spot was detected in Riau, that is in Pelalawan, while in the afternoon seven were found - three in Kampar, three in Kuantan Sengingi and one in Indragiri Hulu - while three fire spots were detected in Kampar and one in Kuantan Sengingi," he added.

In Sumatra, 94 hot spots have been detected in Jambi, followed by South Sumatra (75), Bangka Belitung (15) and West Sumatra, Bengkulu and Lampung (three each) and North Sumatra with one.