ACTNews, BEKASI - Ustaz Agus illustrated the flow of Bekasi River on the ground using a branch. He drew a line that illustrated Bekasi River. The river used to flow to Sukatenang Village. Then he drew another line that intersected the first line, illustrating the second river that emerged in 1981. This newly-emerged river cut the flow of Bekasi river, and the water now goes straight to the sea.
"So, since 1981, the river no longer flows downward through villages like Babakan and Sukatenang. The river now flows straight to the sea, and now we know it as Kali Mati Bekasi," explained Ustaz Agus as the Waqf Well Development Coordinator in Babakan Village on Sunday (7/5) that afternoon.
Consequently, every year, the village located in Sukawangi Subdistrict, Bekasi Regency, suffers from water crisis because the villagers can’t draw water from the river. Though water is available, but it is brackish.
"If we dig a shallow well of around 10-12-meter deep, we can find water, but it’s prone to drought. If the depth is around 13-90 meters, the water is rather brackish and not fit for use. For clean, fresh water, the locals must dig a well of at least 100-meter deep. We have no idea how the water gets brackish. Our village is located far from the coast, "Ustaz Agus explained.
Sadly, many of the residents can’t afford to build deep water wells. During dry season, the locals must take water from their neighbors’ houses, or mosques that have deep wells.
Eti, one of the beneficiaries, washing dishes at the Waqf Well. (ACTNews / Reza Mardhani)
Eti, one of the residents, also admitted that the water sources in her house often get dry. Sometimes she relies on water from her neighbors or her parents’ house. That was recognized by Eti, one of the residents. The water in his house is often dry. He often uses water in his neighbor's house or his parents. She often has to take water from the mosque, or buy water for IDR 3,000 each jerry can.
"I usually get water from my neighbors’ houses, sometimes from the mosque. Yesterday, I took water from my parents’ house. Their well often dries up too," said Eti.
The unavailability of water also affects the locals’ livelihood because most of the locals work as agricultural laborers in rain-fed farms. The farmers in the village can only plant the crop once a year.
"If the dry season is really long and dry, the land will be left uncultivated. The locals work as odd-jobbers or merchants in Jakarta and other cities,” said Ustaz Agus.
Global Wakaf - ACT endeavors to resolve water crisis in Kampakan Babakan. As many as 28 families benefitted from the Waqf Wells at the beginning of dry season. "One Waqf Well is used not only by one family. Each well benefit several families," said Ustaz Agus.
Eti, who was one of the beneficiaries, was grateful for the Waqf Well. It makes it easier for her to wash and do other cleaning activities at home.
"Alhamdulillah, I'm happy for this well. Now, washing the dishes, doing the laundry, and taking ablution are easier for me. My neighbors next door can also benefit from the well. Sometimes the neighbors’ children also take a shower or ablution here,” said Eti.