Jakarta: Sinking due to lack of adequate water security and infrastructure

Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, is sinking faster than any other city in the world. Due to mounting climate impacts and man-made actions, 40 per cent of Jakarta is currently below sea level, with the metropolis continuing to sink up to six centimetres a year.

Hydrologists from the University of Indonesia say that a protective sea wall could help save Jakarta, as well as the millions who call it home, from being further submerged. However, rising sea levels, linked to climate variability and change, are not the only ones to be blamed for this crisis.

In the capital, some of the 10 million residents have resorted to digging illegal wells to gain access to drinking water, draining the underground aquifers upon which Jakarta sits. This unregulated tapping into the water take has resulted in the rapid sinking of the Indonesian capital and threatening the livelihoods of millions. In fact, this situation precisely illustrates what happens when a community lacks water security.

Throughout Indonesia, water issues are rife, and more than 40 million people live without access to improved drinking water sources. And despite the precarious conditions Jakarta faces, it is considered to enjoy the most adequate access to water throughout the country.

“Increasing availability and resilience by securing our water resources involves, among others things, the construction of reservoirs and maintaining infrastructure,” president of the World Water Council, Benedito Braga, said. “In addition, there must be a rational management and use of water, which means all sectors must be a rational management and use of water, which means all sectors must share resources fairly and encourage citizens to be efficient with water use in their own homes. Industry needs to recycle and reuse water and ensure irrigation uses more efficient methods. Managing demand in this way will enable us to use our water resources more efficiently and effectively.”