Tue, 15 Jul 2003

Residents fed up with lack of drinking water

The Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) predicts that many city residents will face water shortages as the current dry season is forecast to last up to August. The absence of rainfall will likely cause many artesian wells to dry up. Meanwhile, the fact is that some 1.1 million cubic meter of water are consumed by the city's population every day. The Jakarta Post talked to some residents who are experiencing water problems at the moment.

Simin, 40, is a sidewalk vendor selling chicken noodles in Pluit Permai, North Jakarta. He lives in Tanah Merah, North Jakarta, with his wife and two children:

I have to spend more or less Rp 6,000 a day for 12 cans of water from vendors. I use the water for my daily needs, including cooking, drinking, washing and bathing.

The owner of my rented house does not have a well and we have no connection to mains water.

Not only that, I have to spend another Rp 6,000 for clean water for my food stall. Here the prices are a little bit more expensive because we use it for our business.

We need more water if a lot of people come to the stall. This means I have to spend even more money on water.

I have never heard of the government doing anything good for city residents like me to deal with the water problem.

Rois, 32, is a security guard at the luxury home of a shoe factory owner in Pluit, North Jakarta. He resides in Kapuk, North Jakarta, with his wife and daughter:

I am fed up with the water problems in my neighborhood. I have been in North Jakarta for almost 12 years and I have always had to face the same problem.

There is nothing I can do to escape from the problem. I wish I could move somewhere else other than here due to the water problem we have.

There have been problems with the tap water here for a long time, and nothing has been done to fix them.

I have to spend more or less Rp 50,000 on water every month. I still have to pay my monthly tap water bill, despite the bad service.

I have a baby now, so we need a lot of water to wash her diapers. It is impossible to survive with not enough water since the infant arrived.

I expect nothing from the administration. I doubt that they could do something good to overcome the water shortages.

Gimin, 37, is a vendor who sells fresh fruit from a pushcart in North Jakarta. He lives in Bandengan, North Jakarta, with a number of his fellow vendors. His wife and two children are in his hometown of Madiun, East Java:

Water shortages are a very common problem that affect us just about all the time. The entire neighborhood here faces the same problem.

We do not have good access to clean water, especially during the dry season, like now.

However, I live at a mosque where there is always water, even if it is pretty salty. It's like a blessing from heaven for me and my fellow vendors.

That's the only source of water in my neighborhood. At least I can use it for washing and bathing every day. We don't need it for cooking or drinking because we usually buy our meals and what we need to drink at a food stall.

But, in return I always set aside more or less Rp 20,000 as a donation to the mosque.

-- Leo Wahyudi S.