Bali's Governor Made Mangku Pastika has thrown his hat in the ring in the Indonesian pastime of special monikers describing the unique traits and skills of its various provincial governors.
In this nation-wide competition for nick names, the governor of Gorontalo in North Sulawesi, Fadel Muhammad, is known as the "Gubernur Jagung" or "Corn Governor" for his success in developing that commodity for his province. Explained Pastika while speaking at an agricultural gathering, "if Fadel Muhammad is the 'Corn Governor,' then I want to be known as the 'Water Governor' (Gubernur Air)."
"I will always try to secure water for the people encountering problems obtaining clean water," he added.
A favorite theme of Bali's governor repeated as he travels across the island is the injustice of water distribution between people living in remote regions and city dwellers. Complains Pastika: "In the city, people can obtain water for Rp. 50 (US$0.005) per cubic meter. But in the regions, such as Kubu or Seraya, the cost of a cubic meter of water can be Rp. 50,000 (US$4.50). This is not just and must be remedied."
The governor equates water crisis as being identical with the root causes of poverty. And, in turn, he believes that poverty is a close cousin of ignorance.
Governor Pastika has singled out the areas of Kubu, Seraya, Karangasem, Gerokgak Buleleng and the eastern regions of Buleleng as crisis areas requiring urgent attention on the issue of water supply.
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