ACTNews, GUNUNGKIDUL - Rongkop Subdistrict is among the easternmost parts of Gunungkidul Regency, located close to Wonogiri Regency, Central Java. During the dry season, this region is filled with hills and rocks, as well as rice fields and teak trees whose leaves have dried.
The total area is 83.46 square kilometers. In 2018, Rongkop Subdistrict was inhabited by 29,898 people, not so densely populated compared to other subdistricts in Gunungkidul.
When the drought comes, Rongkop residents who are mostly farmers have been rendered unemployed. Their rice fields are left unirrigated because the river has dried up. They also have no water wells in their fields.
"Many of the rice fields are rain-fed, so it’s not uncommon to harvest the rice only once a year. In drought like this, only cassava and teak trees survive. As a result, many farmers change jobs or move to Yogyakarta or Solo Cities to become construction workers," said Isdianto, a resident of Melikan Village, Rongkop, Wednesday (8/28).
Isdianto added, in March, the water volume started receding. Each family made a rainwater reservoir that can hold around 6 thousand liters. The water reservoir is used to collect water from a drinking water company in Wonosari Subdistrict or clean water aid.
"There are no wells available here yet. Trying to dig wells haven’t come to fruition. The water sources are rare. There was once research conducted in this area (Melikan) stating that digging at depths of up to 200 meters will not necessarily reach water sources," said Isdianto.
In some cases, some Gunungkidul residents even sell their livestock to buy water. The quite severe drought has forced them to buy water whose price per tank can reach hundreds of thousands of rupiah.
The water from the drinking water company does not flow every day, and the natural water sources have also dried up. The residents rely on the water that they have to buy, or clean water aid from various parties. Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) Yogyakarta also distributes water aid to various locations affected by drought in Gunungkidul.