Ni Komang Erviani , The Jakarta Post , Denpasar | Sat, 01/10/2009 10:19 AM | Bali
Karangasem Regent I Wayan Geredeg has allocated Rp 35 billion (US$3.2 million) to install water pipes, build reservoirs and improve the overall infrastructure of water delivery in the regency to solve its shortage problems.
Geredeg told The Jakarta Post on Thursday that the plan would help the regency solve the problems by 2010.
He did not elaborate further on his plans, except for the cost and the deadline in which all the infrastructure projects would be finished.
Yet, he was optimistic about the plan because the administration’s official had found a water source in Ban village, Kubu district, with an outflow rate of six liters per second.
“I hope all Karangasem residents will have easier access to clean water by 2010,” he said.
Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika also pledged to connect 10,000 families in the Karangasem districts of Abang and Kubu — the two worst drought-affected areas in the regency — to piping systems with access to clean water this year.
“This shortage problem is the key to solving the poverty issue in Karangasem, because the poverty there is the legacy of years of water shortage problems,” he said.
According to data from the Bali Public Works Agency, about 30 percent of the 384,208 residents of Karangasem have trouble getting clean water, especially in Kubu and Abang districts, which are populated by 32,222 families.
According to the same data, each family must spend Rp 375,000 for ten cubic meters of water per month, which translates to a total spending of about Rp 8.1 billion for the two water stringent districts per year.
In comparison, Bali’s hotels spend less money for ground water. In 2007, hotels spend Rp 10 billion for 20 million cubic meter, or Rp 500 per cubic meter of water.
Karangasem Regent I Wayan Geredeg said the water shortage was the main cause of poverty in his regency, which in 2007 reached 41,866 families or 46 percent of the 91,000 families in Karangasem.
“The poor people are getting even poorer because they have to spend more for water,” he said.
Meanwhile, from The Post’s observations, the advent of the rainy season is a blessing for many of Karangasem residents, who can spend up to Rp 400,000 (US$36) for a tank of clean water during the dry season from May to October.
“A tank would last us about a month, though if we really conserve it could last for two months,” said Komang Terima, 46, a villager in Dusun Tinjalas in East Seraya.
He said he would spend Rp 2,000 for a jerrican of clean water if he did not have enough money for a tank.
During this rainy season, he has been collecting all the water he can from the small reservoir he built to capture the rain water.
“We still have to conserve though. It’s enough for us to take a bath once every three days, sharing one bucket for the four of us each time,” he said.
Indeed, despite the increasing rains, water remains a scarce commodity for Karangasem residents.
I Luh Nustri, 25, another villager, said she could only use one bucket of water for all of her kitchen chores.
“We would not have enough water if I use more for kitchen chores because we can’t afford to buy more,” she said.