Thu, 17 Jul 2003

'I don't want to experience another water shortage'

The Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) recently reported its forecast on possible water shortages in several areas of Greater Jakarta, which might inconvenience residents using groundwater from artesian wells. Some residents in the affected areas have gone on with their daily lives as usual, despite the possible water crisis. They shared their experiences with The Jakarta Post.

Sefa, 32, is a teacher at an elementary school in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta. She lives in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, with her family:

I have no problems with the water supply at my house. Our main source of water is city-owned PAM Jaya water company.

Sometimes the service is disrupted, but we have a reservoir to store water for our daily needs.

The supply of water is somewhat reliable, although the quality and quantity are not so good. But we can still use the water for cooking and drinking. It saves our spending extra money on mineral water.

I haven't heard any complaints on water shortages from my neighbors.

I don't have an artesian well, so it makes me worry about what we would do if water runs out as they say it will.

I don't want to experience the same water shortages as I did years ago. I had to go from door to door, asking for clean water from my neighbors.

It could happen again this year, what with the long dry season.

Dikin, 30, is a vendor who sells food from a push cart. He lives in Pulo Gadung, East Jakarta, with his wife and daughter:

So far, I haven't had any serious problems with getting clean water in my area.

I have an artesian well and it has a pretty good supply. I also use tap water in case the well dries up.

I think the quality of the groundwater is quite good, so I don't need to buy water for drinking, cooking or bathing.

Some friends living in the industrial zones have complained about the poor quality of the water in their area because of the pollution. I'm lucky I don't live in those areas.

Anyway, I don't see any vendors selling water in my neighborhood -- I'd think it means that the water in our area is good.

But it doesn't mean I'm not concerned about the forecasted water crisis.

Siti, 25, is a street sweeper in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta. She lives in Pegangsaan, North Jakarta, with her husband and son:

Problems with water have been a part of our lives for a long time. I have to spend extra to buy clean water, around Rp 1,500 or more a day.

The groundwater from our artesian well is not good at all. It looks clean at first, but it turns yellowish when we use it for bathing or washing.

The money I spend on water every month is quite a lot for a low-income person like me, since I make less than the regional minimum wage. Water, like it or not, is an additional but vital cost.

Actually, I didn't know that there might be a water shortage in the next few months. If that's the case, I don't know what I'll do but worry about it.

-- Leo Wahyudi S.