North Kalimantan Hit by Drought, yet Central Kalimantan is Flooding

https___asset.kgnewsroom.com_photo_pre_2022_10_24_ccca3956-f8f0-4767-9431-e09ffca8468a_jpeg PMI volunteers along with officers and BPBD of West Kotawaringin Regency entered the Kumpai Batu Atas Village area to evacuate residents due to increasing flood waters, Saturday (22/10/2022) (Photo by: PMI/Ario Tanoto).

A Full Month of Flood Occurrences in Central Kalimantan

Floods that submerged 10 districts and cities in Central Kalimantan displaced 3,702 residents. West Kotawaringin was the worst affected area by flooding with a total of 31 villages and sub-districts being submerged and 2,809 people displaced.

Floods in Central Kalimantan have been going on for almost a full month in October. Data from the Disaster Management and Fire Department (BPBPK) of Central Kalimantan Province, Monday (24/10/2022), showed that floods hit 10 regencies and cities with a total of 55 sub-districts and 356 villages affected. The districts affected by the floods include West Kotawaringin, East Kotawaringin, Katingan, Seruyan, Sukamara, Lamandau, Pulang Pisau, North Barito, South Barito, and Palangkaraya City.

The head of Kumpai Batu Atas Village, West Kotawaringin, Sariyanto said that this time the flood was worse than the previous year which did not make residents evacuate. This year, floods submerged hundreds of houses in Kumpai Batu Atas Village and two neighboring villages, which forced almost all villagers to evacuate.

The management of the PDAM Tirta Alam Tarakan checked the dry condition of Embung Binalatung in Kampung Satu Village, Monday (22/8/2022).

Tarakan: An Island in North Kalimantan that is Vulnerable to Climate Change

Tarakan Island is a small island in North Kalimantan that is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, one of which is drought due to low rainfall for a long time. Several times, there have been water crises that have left hundreds of thousands of people without raw water for almost a month. In mid-August 2022, around 13,000 residents in Tarakan City could not get a raw water supply. The Binalatung dam, which has the largest capacity in the city, was dry because it had not rained for several days.

Anton (62), a resident of RT 026, Karang Anyar Village, for example. His house happened to be on a rather high land so he could get ground water. However, he only uses ground water for bathing and washing. He did not dare to use it for drinking because the water contained oil or coal. This condition makes Anton still need water supply from PDAM.

PDAM Tirta Alam, Tarakan City, noted that the coverage of clean water services in 2021 was 86.8 percent of the 241,893 inhabitants. East Tarakan Subdistrict which is located on the coast is the least served. Of the 58,504 residents in East Tarakan, only 58.7 percent of the people served, or around 21,700 people. Currently, PDAM Kota Tarakan relies on five reservoirs to collect rainwater which is then filtered and distributed to residents. The five are the Embung Nursery, Embung Binalatung, Embung Bengawan, Embung Rawasari, and Embung Indulung.

An expert at PDAM Tirta Alam, Tarakan City, Suryaman, said that currently Tarakan still has a raw water deficit of 3.8 million cubic meters of water. Thus, there are times when a number of residents in several locations cannot have water for 24 hours so that the water supply is evenly distributed.

One of the causes of Tarakan's water crisis at that time was allegedly due to climate change. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) has conducted a risk assessment and climate change adaptation in Tarakan in 2010-2011. The study states that drought in Tarakan City is a potential climate hazard that is heavily influenced by the El-Nino phenomenon. Climate change can be seen from unusual events, one of which is low rainfall for a long time, causing drought. The results of the IPPC study in 2014 predicted drought in the 2010-2020 range. By looking at the predictions of rainfall, the trend will increase after 2030. 

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