Desperate Java residents rely on water deliveries as lifeline

Desperate Java residents rely on water deliveries as lifeline
Policemen holds water pipes that provide clean water for villagers as the dry season hits more than 77 villages in the city of Cilacap, Indonesia's Central Java province.
PHOTO: Reuters

Tens of thousands of residents in Java have been depending on clean water being supplied by local authorities over the past several weeks, as a severe water crisis triggered by this year's prolonged dry season has begun to spread on the country's most populated island.

In Wonogiri, Central Java, the regency's Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) reported on Friday that at least 67,300 residents in eight districts had been struggling with a water crisis over the past two few months.

Wonogiri BPBD acting head Bambang Haryanto said that among the worst-hit areas were Pracimantoro district, inhabited by 23,500 residents, and Paranggupito district, a home to 8,400 people.

"People in the affected districts used to get their water supply from wells and ponds, which are now dried up because of the prolonged dry season. They have no option other than waiting for the clean water that we distribute," Bambang said.

Bambang said his agency had dispatched 264 water tanks with capacities of 6,000 liters each to the affected villages since mid-July. In each delivery the agency, however, could only provide a two-day supply of clean water to every village because of the limited number of available tanks.

"We hope the private sector, or individuals, could also help provide immediate clean water assistance to the affected villages. If we seek for other solutions, like building artesian wells or water pipelines, it would be just too late for the residents," Bambang said.

Meanwhile in the Central Java capital city of Semarang, residents in several villages have also reported clean water shortages.

Harjanti, 47, a resident of Rowosari subdistrict, said she must wait for at least two days until an artesian well in her house accumulates enough water to be fetched.

Semarang BPBD logistics affairs head Bambang Rudi said his agency had provided clean water assistance to residents in a number of areas.

"We have already dispatched 100 tanks with a capacities of 5,000 liters each. The water supply is sent to subdistricts that have submitted formal requests for clean water assistance," Bambang said.

Indonesia is home to 240 million people, with around 60 per cent of them living on Java.

Earlier, farmers in many regions in the country have also reported difficulties in providing sufficient irrigation for their crops because of the long absence of rain, which has been triggered by the El NiƱo weather phenomenon.

On Thursday West Java Agriculture and Food Crops Agency head Diden Trisnadi said at least 7,400 hectares of paddy fields in the province had experienced harvest failure caused by the prolonged dry season.

Separately, Wonogiri Agriculture Agency head Safuan said that 6,714 ha of rice fields in the regency had been reportedly abandoned by local farmers because of the severe water crisis. The rice fields, he said, were located within the irrigation system that relies on water from reservoirs and dams.

"As of today, seven reservoirs and 13 dams in the regency have dried up," he said.

Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.