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The Bitter Taste of Progress

Severe Salt Water Intrusion is Destroying Plant Life and Threatening to Cause Subsidence in Several Main Tourist Areas of Bali.

(4/23/2011) The intrusion of salt water into the water table along Sanur beach is worsening, bringing an added threat of sink holes that could cause subsidence that will destabilize the foundations of building structures.

Beritabali.com reports that salt water is now found in what were once subterranean fresh water reservoirs as far as 600 meters from the shore line. The cause of the salt water intrusion is clear: the over exploitation of ground water by Sanur businesses and residences.

A laboratory chief from the Bali Environmental Agency (BLH), Gede Suarjana, blames the salt intrusion for the death of plants and trees and warns that empty caverns below the surface of the earth once filled with fresh water could some day collapse, causing sink holes that will devastate surface structures.

Suarjana confirmed that the worst over-exploitation of fresh water supplies is occurring in the areas of Sanur, Kuta and Nusa Dua.

By limiting access to subterranean water supplies and dramatically increasing taxes charged to well owners the government of Bali is trying to curb the growing deficit in water usage from underground reservoirs, now approaching 27 million cubic meters each year.