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Rotten at the Top

Bali's Lake Batur is Shrinking. Much of Island's Water Supply Under Threat.

(11/15/2008) BeritaBali.com reports that observations made the Bali Environmental Agency conclude that sedimentation has decreased the depth of Bali's famous Batur lake by one meter over the past five years. Experts blame the rapid sedimentation on the diversion of surrounding land from natural jungle habitat to agricultural pursuits.

The loss of natural jungle cover in run-off areas surrounding the lake are also cited as the cause for a recent loss of 50 centimeters in water level and the severe pollution now affecting the lake.

The Chief of the Bali Environmental Agency, Gede Wardhana, told BeritaBali.com that the declining condition of the popular tourism destination has been worsened by the rapid development of hotels and villas near the lake, a development outside the authority of his agency. Wardhana said: "These things are clearly outside our authority. For the four lakes found in the regencies of Buleleng, Tabanan, and Bangli we can only hope that the quality (of these lakes) is preserved and that any permits (issued by the regencies) consider the existing environmental and land-use rules."

Wardhana also warned that the worsening pollution and destruction of Lake Batur threatens a coming water crisis in Bali. Lake Batur is the water source for 4 separate regencies in Bali: Bangli, Tabanan, Badung and the city of Denpasar.