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Last Ditch Effort

Hundred of Hectare of Farmland Now Idle Due to Lack of Water

(9/15/2013) Hundreds of hectares of rice fields at Subak Gomeng in the Banjar of Uma Anyar in the Klungkung Regency have dried up due to an extended dry season and the destruction of traditional irrigation canals.

The State News Agency Antara, quotes Nengah Karta (65), a farmer from the region who said: “Until now there has been no effort by the government, meaning our rice traces have become dried-up fields because the drought has continued for almost two years.”

The farmer blamed the once-productive, but now arid fields on a lack of rainfall and the destruction of traditional subak irrigation canals.

The terraces once home to verdant rice crops harvestable three times a year or other cash crops harvestable twice a year, now host only weeds and wild grasses.

Nengah Karta and other area farmers from Klungkung area imploring the Regency to repair broken irrigation ditches so farming can resume.

The head (Kelian) of the Gombeng Kelod Subak, Kadek Mustika, admits that efforts have been underway to repair irrigation ditches for the past two years. During this same period, farmers have sought to borrow water from neighboring subak associations.

In order to repair existing irrigation ditches the subak needs to acquire 10 are (1,000 square meters) of land at a cost of Rp. 50 million per are.

There also remains the need to create a new irrigation canal from the main canal to Gembong Kelod Subak of 110 meters in length.

Kadek Mustika said, “For this canal the work has commenced and will soon be completed.”

Rp.60 million (US$6,000) is being used to make the canals, paid from funds provided by the Agriculture Department of the Klungkung Regency.