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The Bitter Harvest of Over Development

Salt Water Intrusions into South Bali's Ground Water Threatens Soil Quality and Public Health.

(3/14/2009) Tempo Interactive has sounded a now familiar warning that the continued uncontrolled use of ground water in Bali will lead not only to salt water intrusion into precious sub terrain water reservoirs but could also precipitate dangerous landslides. This is the dire prediction made by the chief of the Environmental Laboratory Technical Services at Bali's Environmental Agency, I Gede Suarjana.

In the area of Sanur, for instance, evidence of sea water intrusion is now found in wells located 500 meters from the shoreline. The situation is even more acute in the Sanur Kauh area where sub terrain salt water is present a full 1.136 kilometers from the sea. Gede said that salty-tasting water is encountered at a depth of only 10-12 meters adding, "land subsidence occurred because the lands" pores have been blocked due to ground water excavation."

Citing further evidence of the problem of salt in water supplies, Gede points to the electrical connectivity of Sanur's water supply which measures 1,800 microhos, well above a standard reading of 1,300 microhos.

The Need to Reduce Ground Water Usage

The total annual ground water capacity of Bali is estimated at 399 cubic meters with experts with consumption averaging 12.67 cubic meters every second. In 2008 Bali consumed 111 cubic meters of ground water, an increase of nearly 10% over the previous year.

The Bali Public Works Service Chief, I Gusti Nyoman Sura Adnyana, says that ground water usage is most intense in South Denpasar where ground water exploitation exceeds the recommended 10% of available reserves fostering the salt water intrusion now being experienced in that area.

The mixing of salt water with fresh water supplies makes ground water unfit for human consumption and can turn formerly productive soils into arid dessert-like terrain.

The chief of the Bali and Nusa Tenggara Regional Environmental Management Center has labeled the problem of salt water intrusion in Sanur as the worst on the island, followed by Kuta and Candidasa