Tue, 19 Aug 2003

'We have no water at all at home; why should We pay our bills'

The government has warned of the real possibility of an escalation of water shortages throughout Java, including the capital, in the coming months due to the severe and prolonged dry season this year. It has been reported that some areas in West Jakarta and North Jakarta are currently facing a water crisis. Water supplies from the Jatiluhur dam in West Java to the city- owned tap water company have declined to 60 percent of the normal level. The Jakarta Post asked several people about the impending crisis.

Wirdah, 27, is a housewife who resides in Srengseng, West Jakarta with her husband and son:

It has been more than a week since I ran out of tap water!

Worse, my artesian well dried up long before the water supply was apparently cut by the city-owned tap water company.

It is really terrible. This has been the worst water problem since I have lived in this area. There is no water at all at our home.

What is really bad is the insulting gossip by the people in our unfriendly neighborhood, because I always have to beg for a bucket of water from them each day.

We had to leave our home and go to my parents' house, which still has water. We have been living with them for almost a week. At least, I can take a bath and drink water here.

I am just so upset by the disrupted water supply, which just gets worse every year. Why should I even pay my bill?

Agus, 35, is a tailor in Bogor. He lives there with his wife and three children:

I think the water shortage this year is the worst I have ever experienced. Everyone in my kampung has the same problem. It's a very sad state of affairs for us and our country.

I have to beg almost every day for clean water from other neighbors who still have water. Some of their wells are more than 15 meters deep so they still have water.

I don't have enough money to pay for a deeper well, so I have to cope with the consequences.

My children's need for water is my priority, particularly for bathing and drinking. For myself it's no problem to bathe or wash clothes in the nearby river, despite the dirty water.

I have no choice, but I'm not alone. I don't have any idea what we will do if this drought goes on much longer.

Bagas, 29, is a kindergarten teacher at a private school in Salemba, Central Jakarta. He lives on Jl. Percetakan Negara, Central Jakarta with his sisters:

Thank God, I don't have serious problems dealing with tap water supply at home.

Water continues to flow from our well still. Normally, in the morning, the water supply is not flowing very well.

I am pretty sure the rest of my neighborhood is also fine. As far as I know, there are no major problems with the water supply.

Upon observing the situation here, I don't worry too much about the water shortage, despite the fact that some places in the city and nationwide have big problems as a result of the longer dry season.

Leo Wahyudi S