JAKARTA: Four regional drinking water systems to open next year

Four new regional drinking water treatment systems (SPAMs) will start operations next year as the government strives to increase the country’s access to clean water, an official has said.

The Public Works and Public Housing Ministry’s SPAM development director, Mochammad Natsir, said Monday that the SPAMs would be in four locations, namely Yogyakarta-Sleman-Bantul (Karta Mantul) in Yogyakarta, Banjar Bakula in South Kalimantan, Palu-Sigi-Donggala (Pasigala) in Central Sulawesi and Kubu Raya in West Kalimantan.

The estimated investment is more than Rp 2 trillion (US$145.6 million), with the biggest being for SPAM Pasigala at Rp 849.5 billion.

“There is a limited amount of water in some municipalities, while there is plenty in others that could have been jointly used [by areas facing shortages]. There is no other way than to push the regional SPAM,” he said on Monday.

The amount of water produced by a regional drinking water system could provide for at least two municipalities.

SPAM Pasigala would be able to produce at least 300 liters of water per second, while Banjar Bakula would be able to produce 250 liters of water per second, according to Natsir.

The development of the four SPAMs began last year, with the projects fully funded by the government because they were deemed unattractive to private investors.

Currently, the ministry aims to secure public-private partnerships for financially feasible projects, while the government supports partially feasible projects with viability gap funding (VGF) or an allocation from the state budget.

Private sector participation is still welcomed following the annulment of Law No. 7/2004 on water resources and the government regulation on SPAM as part of the sixth economic policy package launched recently that is expected to tighten rules for SPAMs run by private companies, according to Natsir.

The government has targeted to increase access to drinking water to 100 percent in 2019 as stipulated in the National Mid-Term Development Plan (RPJMN), from around 67.03 percent in 2013. It expects to increase it to 73 percent in 2016.

The ministry would need an estimated Rp 274.8 trillion in investment to reach the goal, according to the ministry’s data, while the government could only fund Rp 90.7 trillion, or 33 percent of the target.

Other SPAMs are also underway, such as SPAM Jatiluhur in West Java, which was reported to have garnered Rp 1.64 trillion in investment, and will be ready to operate in 2017 with a production capacity of 5,000 liters of water per second.

Meanwhile, Natsir also said that the long-delayed regional SPAM Umbulan in East Java was already in progress. The SPAM, which was part of a national showcase project in 2010, would require at least Rp 2.2 trillion in investment. It is expected to produce 4,000 liters of water per second and provide drinking water for people living in Pausuran, Sidoarjo, Surabaya and Gresik.

“It’s in the tender process. We hope to sign a contract on the project in February, then reach financial closing in December next year,” he said, adding that he expected the project to begin construction in 2017.

He said the government would earmark Rp 300 billion to fund the project, as well as VGF totaling 49 percent of the total investment.

Source: The Jakarta Post