Wed, 24 Aug 1994

Apartment residents complain of bad water

JAKARTA (JP): Residents of Tanah Abang low-cost apartment complex are complaining about the poor quality of water distributed by the City Water Company (PDAM Jaya).

"We cannot use the water for bathing or drinking directly out of the tap because it is muddy, stinking and contains live worms," Thamrin Oemar, the head of community unit within the apartment complex, told The Jakarta Post yesterday.

Thamrin said that the residents had been suffering the poor water conditions for more than a month.

To deal with the problem many of the residents have to keep the water in their basin for 24 hours before they use it. By doing this, the filth in the water settles to the bottom, leaving the top half, presumably, clean enough to use.

"If we do not do that our skin will be itchy and our drinking water will be murky," he said.

According to Thamrin, damaged underground pipes are responsible for the poor water conditions because the soil and dirty water seep into them.

"Since the apartment is located near the central water installation in Pejompongan, more dirty materials reach our reservoir," he said.

PDAM Jaya finance director Machmud Ranusemito said recently that 37 percent of the company's overall installed capacity of 12,500 liters per second was unaccounted due to leaky pipes.

The company has only replaced 54 percent of the old pipes, Machmud said. He blamed of a lack of funds for the failure to replace the old pipes.

Abdulgani H. Abdullah, a chairman of the City Council's Commission B on Economy, had stated previously that it had procured loans from the World Bank to finance a water pipe replacement project.

Meanwhile, Sugianto, the water company technician who is responsible for the water distribution in Central Jakarta, has denied that the bad smell, worms and mud result from the leaked underground pipes.

"I just got back from an inspection at the complex on Monday and I witnessed that their water reservoir was not properly treated," he said.

Vital facility

Sugianto said that the reservoir was kept open, dirty, unprotected from exposure to the sun exposure and had become a lair for mosquitoes.

"I have told them to take care of their water reservoir because it is a vital facility," he said.

He said that if there are any dirty materials from the pipes they are only the sediment of chlorine or the corroding residues.

Responding to the residents' complaint about the low water pressure, he said that the company's task is only to deliver enough water to the apartment complex.

"It is the residents who are responsible for the water distribution to the apartment units," he said.

Thamrin said that organization of residents owned two water pumps to distribute water to the units.

However, the 13-year old water pumps are already too old and are frequently out-of-order. The broken pumps hampered the complex water distribution there.

The apartment complex, consisting of 60 four-story buildings are homes of 960 families or 3,000 people, was built on a six hectares of land in 1981 by Perumnas, a state-owned housing company.(03)