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How Dry We Are?

Carrying Capacity the Issue as Local Expert Says Island's Water Supply Under Threat.

(4/28/2002) As reported in both the local and Jakarta press this past week(26/4), the chief of the Bali's Forest Management and Conservation Agency has issued a dire warning that unplanned development and exploitation of the island's natural environment threatens Bali's water supply.

Mr. I Nyoman Silanawa from the Island's Forest Conservation Agency, emphasized that the clearing of forested areas by illegal loggers and farmers is already resulting in a water shortage in the southern part of the island. He was quoted further as saying, "in the coming five years, it is feared that the city of Denpasar will face sever water shortages if this matter is not immediately dealt with."

Water feedment areas from the central and north part of the island are also under threat as farmers convert forested rain catchment areas once used for coffee cultivation into more economically promising orange groves. Meanwhile, uncontrolled logging on the island's north shore is believed to be a root cause of floods that occurred in the Jembrana and Buleleng regions of the islands earlier this year.

Subsidies Needed

Meanwhile, several leading conservationists in Bali have suggested that government regulations prohibitting recultivation of land will not work unless owners of rain catchment areas are paid some sort of subsidy to preserve the status of their lands.

Some 30% of Bali's land area is currently designated as forested or jungle; an area equal to 130,686 hectares. Of that total 73% has been set aside as protected forest, 20% as conservation area, and 7% as forrest production area.