Environmental activists united under the Bali Working Committee for Environmental Advocacy (Kekal-Bali) are supporting the revocation of an exploration permit of the popular “Aqua” bottle water brand (PT Tirta Investama) in the village of Peladung in the Karangasem Regency of Bali.
The exploration permit issued by the Regent of Karangasem has caused unrest among local citizen who were concerned that drilling for mineral water would affect the irrigation systems used by area farmers.
Farmers had also been vocal in declaring their concern that the exploration might deplete four local water sources at Ababi, Tauka, Tirta Gangga and Yeh Ketupat. The four water sources are seen as of central importance to the continued existence of local communities.
Quoted by Kompas.com, a leading Bali environmentalist, Wayan “Gendo” Suardana, told the press on Monday, January 14, 2013, “We reject all forms of privatization of water, because water is essential to many and its distribution must be kept away from private industry.”
Kekal called on the Regent of Karangasem to honor the decision of the people of the village of Peladung who have firmly rejected the exploration for mineral water by Aqua or the building of an exploration facility by that company in their community.
Gendo called upon the Regent to urgently accede to the aspirations of the village of Peladung and revoke the exploration permit given to PT Tirta Investmama and not grant permission for the privatization of water resources to any private party.
Subsequently, the Bali Post reports that the vice-regent of Karangasem, Made Sukerana, accompanied by the regional secretary, Ir. Gde Adnya Mulyadi, announced on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, that the exploration permits and drilling at Bungbun, Padangkerta would be suspended.
This would effectively end the permits issued by the regent of Karangasem, Wayan Geredeg to PT Tirta Investama (Aqua) in 2012.
Regency officials were quick to explain that the permit given to the bottle water company was only to drill for water samples and were no automatic guarantee that an exploitation certificate would eventually be issued by regional authorities.
Bali Post reports that drilling has ceased at the location where a 30-centimeter test bore of unknown depth is all that remains of the project.
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