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73 Rivers in Bali Have Run Dry

Bali's Piped Water Supply Under Threat as Farmers Idled by Deepening Water Crisis.

(10/26/2009) The prolonged dry season currently being experienced in Bali is having profound impact on the island's ecology. As reported by Bali Post, of the 165 rivers found on the island, 73 have now run dry. Of the remaining 92 river still flowing, most of these are doing so with substantially reduced flow rates. Many of the dried-up rivers are in West Buleleng, East Buleleng, Kubu and Seraya areas of Bali.

The Head of the Public Works Department for Bali, Ir. I Gusti Nyoman Sura Adnyana, M. Sc., said on Monday, October 19, 2009, the worst affected areas of Bali in the current water shortage are in mountainous regions, with water that is still available lying in lower elevations.

Overcoming the current water deficit won't be easy or happen overnight. Adnyana said plans are in hand to capture the overflow from Dam II of the Tukad Unda River and its estuaries, but such schemes are expensive.

Because of this, the Public Works Department is focusing on rivers close to the Badung and Gianyar regencies, and Denpasar. Rubber dams have been established on Tukad Penet River in the border areas between Badung and Tabanan. Plans are to take between 300-500 liters of water per second to help meet the tap water requirements of Denpasar and South Badung. The exploitation of the waters of the Tukad Penet river is being done on the downstream areas in order not to disrupt the traditional subak water distribution systems that feeds Bali's agricultural lands.

Meanwhile, the water deficit occurring in East Denpasar, Nusa Dua and parts of Gianyar will be addressed, at least in part, by a planed dam to be built in 2010 on the Tukad Petanu river projected to also provide between 300-500 liters of water per second.

Candi Dasa

Bali's drought-like conditions are also affecting the rivers in Bali's east, in the areas surrounding Candi Dasa. A member of the regional house of representatives (DPRRD-Karangasem), I Nyoman Sadra, B.A., reports that the watercourses in the area of Nyuh Tebel are now dry.

When the rivers still flowed in that region, the rice fields north of Candida were still productive, even in drought periods through reliance on the subak system and the employment of crop rotation techniques. However, now that the rivers have run dry, the rice fields have also gone dry yielding no agricultural crops.

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