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We Shall Gather at the River

Udayana University Professor Insists Baliís River System Can Be Tapped to Solve the Coming Water Crisis.

(9/30/2011) Bali’s water supply is increasingly under pressure as tourist numbers rise and the construction of new hotels and villas continue unabated. This is happening against the backdrop of sverely limited sources of fresh water.

As reported by Beritabali.com, the Center for the Study of Sustainable Development at Bali’s Udayana University is predicting Bali will experience an acute fresh water crisis by 2015.The chairman of the Center, Dr. Dharma Putra, is predicting that based on current population projections, by 2015 Bali will have a water deficit amounting to 1,500 liters per second.

“The indicators are the increasing rate of population settlement, the ongoing development of hotel rooms, and the carrying capacity of Bali’s South in terms of supplies of fresh water – these can all be calculated,” explained the Udayana professor.

In Dharma Putra’s view, one of the main causes of the fresh water crisis in Bali is the island’s failure to optimize the use of fresh water sources - primarily from  waters discharged each day into the sea from the Unda, Telaga Waja and other waterways.

“Just look…beginning from the Telaga Waja, Unda, Petanu, Oos, Ayung and even the Penet river ways – all are discharging freshwater (into the sea). Thus far we have only utilized the Tukad Badung with an estuary damn that is sufficient to supply Nusa Dua with 900 liters per second. However, due to a lack of new infrastructure we are only producing 300 liters per second,” explained Dharma Putra.

Dharma Putra is recommending to the government of Bali that they urgently create the infrastructure to utilize the river water being discharged directly into the ocean. Current limitations by the State Water Board (PDAM) in the supply of fresh water have compelled hotels to sink wells to meet their water requirements.

Said Dharma Putra: “Because the hotels are not able to secure good service from PDAM, they have to find alternate water supplies by sinking water wells. This method has obstacles as the quality of ground water is declining due to the intrusion of salt water into the water table. Moreover, the hotels prefer not to use ground water due to the high costs. Just imagine the rapid corrosion of pipes (due to salt water), heavy maintenance and the very high taxes charged by the government for exploitation of ground water.”

He hopes the government will soon create the infrastructure that will bring water from Bali’s rivers to South Bali. He estimates that 1,800 liters per second of fresh water is lost via the Tukad Unda and another 300 liters per second from the Tukad Penet. This is happening when he estimates that there are tens thousand of new homes on Bukut Jimbaran in South Bali without any access to fresh water.

“If I am not wrong, there are ten thousand new houses owned by the public that cannot be served by PDAM, who are compelled to use expensive and difficult-to-obtain well water or purchase their water supply from water trucks filled from PDAM sources. There are also efforts underway to capture rainwater,” Dharma Putra explained.

This same shortage is affecting not only private homes but also the island’s hotel industry. He estimates that every hotel room in Bali needs 1,500 liters of water each day. Meanwhile, data from the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) estimates there are 65,000 hotel rooms in Bali.

Another source, the Bali Hotels Association (BHA), estimates 10,000 new hotel rooms will come on line in 2011. The Executive Director of the BHA, Djinaldi Gosana, has warned that Bali’s water crisis threatens Bali image as a world tourism destination.

“We in the hotel industry are recycling water. Water from swimming pools is used for watering the lawns. That’s how it is, and we support every effort that the government undertakes (for water supply). Don’t let the tourists come and encounter problems in obtaining water; that would not be good,” said Djinaldi.

BHA is also exploring the viability of desalinating seawater for use by Bali’s hotels.

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[Is Your Hotel Sinking?]

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[Waste Not, Want Not]
 
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