Sun, 07 Sep 2003

Crying out for a drop of rain

Reality bites: Each year our people endure a schizophrenic existence of weathering floods, only to be followed by severe drought. It's an ordeal for residents of drought-hit areas, waiting and praying for rain to fall on their parched land.

Although rain has started in some parts of Jakarta and the government has announced it would start cloud seeding to create rain in Java this month, residents living in Pejamuran hamlet, Pesilian, Kronjo district in Tangerang, Banten, have a daily struggle to get fresh water.

Day and night, they have to walk a kilometer to the nearest well, now the main source of water not only for them but residents of other nearby villages. The next nearest active well is five kilometers away.

Only a few hours drive from Jakarta, the water crisis is an everyday nightmare. It's about time we asked ourselves why, in our country blessed with abundant natural resources, we still suffer the same disastrous cycle year in and year out.

-- P.J. Leo