"Clean water in Indonesia is still a problem in terms of supply and its access."

by Author

tirto.id - Increasing population growth has led to higher water use. The need for the quantity of water and also the quality also has increased. Polluted water causes various kinds of diseases, and often led to dead casualties. Each year 1.7 million children die from diarrhea caused by unhealthy environments, mainly due to polluted water.

The provision of clean water in Indonesia is guaranteed in Article 33 UUD 1945 paragraph (3) which reads "Earth and water and the natural resources contained therein are controlled by the state and are used for the greatest prosperity of the people". Furthermore, the policy was emphasized in Law No. 23 of 2014 concerning the obligation for Regional Government to fulfill clean water for the community is one of the responsibilities of the government and regional government as part of the public services.

The National Socio-Economic Survey (Survei Sosial Ekonomi Nasional - Susenas) by the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) noted an increase in households that have access to decent drinking water sources in Indonesia. In 2012 only 65.05 percent of households had access to decent drinking water sources. In 2014, 68.11 percent of households had such access. This figure rose again in 2017 to 72.04 percent.

Total households in Indonesia that have access to decent clean water - (pic) by tirto.id

 However, no province has provided to a decent source of drinking water up to 100 percent. Provinces with households that have the highest access in 2017 are Bali, even then it has only reached around 90.85 percent. The second province with the highest access was DKI Jakarta at 88.93 percent in the same period. North Kalimantan, which is listed as a new province, also has high access and occupies the fourth position with access of 83.78 percent.

5 provinces with households that have access to the highest access to drinking water sources in 2017 - (pic) by tirto.id

In the previous period, DKI Jakarta was ranked first as the province with the highest access to decent drinking water sources, as much as 92.44 percent. However, in 2017 the proportion of households that had access decreased to 88.93 percent.

This decrease was due to the deterioration of the water quality of the Ciliwung River from 2014 to 2016, which was heavily polluted. While Bengkulu is ranked lowest with 43.83 percent of households that have access to decent drinking water sources in 2017.

In addition, low access also occurs in Lampung, with only 53.79 percent of households with drinking water. While in Papua, in the same period, the total access was only 59.09 percent, an increase compared to the previous year, which was 52.69 percent.

5 provinces with households that have the lowest access to drinking water sources in 2017 - (pic) by tirto.id

In the 2015 Bengkulu Province Development Analysis Series, it was mentioned that the low access to clean water was due to problems in the implementation of drinking water and sanitation. In addition, public awareness to conduct clean and healthy living behavior is also still low.

Based on Susenas data, the majority of public drinking water sources are obtained from bottled water, protected wells, and ground water using pumps. Until 2011, Indonesian households relied more on protected wells - water originating from the ground if the circumference of the well was protected by a wall of at least 0.8 meters above ground and 3 meters underground - as a source of drinking water (25.42 percent). However, this figure began to decline in 2013 to 22.58 percent.

In 2016, only 21 percent of households used this source of drinking water. This is indicating the increasing contamination of protected wells. For example, in Mojokerto district, East Java, 60 percent of water from the well is contaminated with Toxic and Hazardous Waste (Bahan Berbahaya dan Beracun - B3).

The polluted water is believed to be the cause of dermatitis which suffered by 432 Lakardowo villagers from November 2016 to January 2017. Another case, E.coli bacteria was found in the source of drinking water in Yogya - one of which was a protected well.

No wonder the trend of sources of drinking water in Indonesian households has been shifted to bottled water. In the year 2000 only 0.86 percent of households used bottled water as a source of drinking water. This proportion increased sharply in 2012, surpassing protected wells, which amounted to 38.85 percent. 

The increasing trend is estimated because of the green open land has been degraded massively, especially in urban areas, so that decent clean water is getting difficult to be obtained. In addition, the quality of ground water or river water does not meet the requirements of healthy drinking water, even it is not suitable for drinking in some areas. Like the Ciliwung River in Jakarta for example, which has been heavily polluted since 2014.

Data from the Directorate General of Pollution Control and Environmental Damage states that there are 52 rivers in Indonesia that are heavily polluted. As many as 20 rivers are moderately polluted to heavily polluted. In addition, there are 7 rivers that experience mild pollution to heavy pollution. The rest of it, there are 21 rivers that meet the quality standard to lightly contaminated. All the river mentioned previously includes 100 streams in 33 provinces throughout 2013 to 2015.

In 2014, the quality of Indonesia's river water quality began to worsen. The quality of the rivers in 2010 to 2013 was average from decent quality-meet the standard, to light contamination and heavily contaminated. In 2011, as much as 56.25 percent of the river status was declared as meet the standard to lightly contaminated. In 2012 the majority of streams are mild contaminants to moderate contaminants (40 percent), it was begun to worsen.

However, in 2014 the quality of the Indonesian rivers began to decline, the majority of rivers were severely polluted. In 2014 for example, 29.03 percent were moderately polluted to highly polluted, and 58.06 percent heavily polluted. This figure dropped in 2015 to 24.24 percent of the moderately polluted to highly polluted river, and 42.42 percent of the heavily polluted river. Unfortunately, in 2016, the number of heavily polluted rivers returned to 55.88 percent and 23.5 percent moderately polluted to highly polluted. 

Status of Indonesian river water quality - (pic) by tirto.id

Since 2013, there has been no more adequate quality river. The number of rivers with the adequate quality status to mildly contaminated also zero per 2014. Meanwhile, adequate quality to moderately polluted river streams per 2015 totaled zero. Similarly, the adequate quality to heavy polluted river has a slight number as well.

This means that rivers that meet the quality standard or in good condition are increasingly difficult to find. No wonder housekeeping is increasingly relying on bottled water as a source of decent drinking water, as the result of quality deterioration of the rivers in Indonesia. The problem with this water needs serious handling, if Indonesia does not want to experience a water crisis in 2025.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, Head of Data Center, Information, and Public Relations of BNPB, said in 2025 the number of water deficit districts will increase to around 7.84 percent. From the deficit region, 38 districts or around 35 percent have experienced a high deficit. Not only that, the water crisis can also lead to conflict.

Almost all human activity needs water, the need of water is a must. Water is also the right of every person and the right is protected by law. In addition, the deterioration of water quality will increase the cost of obtaining clean and drinkable water sources. Not only the government, people also have to maintain the cleanliness of the water source so that it is not polluted.

The original article was published under the title (Bahasa) "Bagaimana Mutu dan Akses Air Bersih di Indonesia?" by tirto.id on March 20th, 2018.

Translator: Aulia Rahman

Editor: Aulia Rahman