Thu, 24 Apr 2008
From: The Jakarta Post
By Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The city mining agency will soon audit businesses that use both groundwater and tap water, agency head Peni Susanti said Wednesday.

She said 3,655 businesses held agency-issued permits to use groundwater, 70 percent of which also had artesian wells.

"We don't know whether those 70 percent use more water from their artesian wells than they do tap water," she said.

Peni said businesses should consume only tap water provided by tap water operators and use their artesian wells, which were used to pump groundwater, as reservoirs.

"Businesses will have to seal their artesian wells and pay fines if they're found to have exploited groundwater beyond the limit," she said.

"But businesses are not allowed to use artesian wells if they have already subscribed to tap water services."

A 1998 ordinance prohibits businesses from consuming more than 100 cubic meters of groundwater per well per day and restricts businesses and industries from using groundwater when they are located within tap water operators' service areas.

Limited coverage areas of tap water suppliers PT PAM Lyonnaise Jaya and PT Aetra Air Jakarta (formerly known as PT Thames PAM Jaya) have encouraged unlawful use of groundwater, according to Peni.

Businesses and industries also opt to use groundwater because it is cheaper than tap water, she said.

Groundwater rates currently stand at between Rp 525 and Rp 3,600 per cubic meter, while tap water rates for businesses and industries are as high as Rp 12,550 per cubic meter.

Groundwater depletion in some parts of the city through unchecked exploitation has caused serious land subsidence, increasing the risk of flooding in the rainy season and water shortages in the dry season.

In a bid to stem the rapid drop in groundwater levels, the agency plans to raise groundwater rates for businesses and industries by an average 600 percent.

The new groundwater rates will range between Rp 8,000 (87 US cents) and Rp 20,000 per cubic meter.

The agency's new fare policy, which has been applauded by the City Council, is expected to come into effect before the end of this year.

To help monitor groundwater levels until then, the agency plans to set up three hubs to connect the 54 devices already installed throughout the city.

"The stations will be around the HI (Hotel Indonesia) traffic circle (Central Jakarta), at Blok M (South Jakarta) and at Pulo Gadung (East Jakarta)," she said.

According to Peni, there are already four similar hubs, one each in Kamal Muara and Tanjung Priok, both in North Jakarta, in Taman Langsat, South Jakarta, and in Pondok Rangon, East Jakarta.

The hub in Kamal Muara covers West Jakarta and North Jakarta. The hub in Tanjung Priok covers only North Jakarta, Taman Langsat covers only South Jakarta and Pondok Rangon covers East Jakarta and South Jakarta.



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