Water Crisis Has Hit Bekasi’s Coastal Area for Years

Indonesia is ranked 51st among countries with highest risk of water scarcity. One of the areas that has been affected by water scarcity is the coast of Bekasi.

bekasi drought
Children in Singkil Sasak Hamlet in Samudrajaya Village in Bekasi crosses a bridge on a river from which the locals usually draw water. (ACTNews)

ACTNews, BEKASI – Despite the rich marine potential, the coastal area of Bekasi has to deal with various environmental problems from rising sea level, land subsidence, and the potential sinking caused by global warming. Yet, there’s another problem that has greatly affected the lives of the locals: the water crisis.

The report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on August 9, 2021, as reported by Kompas.id, stated that climate change is out of control. The IPCC warns that the water crisis is one of the potential threats caused by climate change.

A resident of Sisik Sangkal Hamlet in Samudrajaya Village of Bekasi, Isah (60), revealed that she had experienced a clean water crisis that occurs during both dry and rainy season since she first moved there.

To this day, Isah said, more than 100 families in the village can only rely on a pond that serves as the only clean water source in the village.

"I usually take water from the pond twice, every morning and evening. I take two jerry cans of water in one go, but I have to queue especially during the dry season. The dry season makes things harder,” said Isah.

During the rainy season when the water in the river becomes clearer, some residents also take water from the river for bathing and washing. During the dry season, the water becomes murky and salty.

“Every other day, we buy clean water for cooking. Once we tried to build a borehole well. It came to no fruition because we didn’t dig it deep enough. The water was salty,” she said.

People in other villages also experience clean water scarcity. Santi, a housewife in Sukaduri Village said there was only one water well in her village, but the water pump needs repairs. The water crisis is exacerbated when the dry season arrives.

"We have to stand in line and take the water manually. From morning to evening, around 50 families in the village use this well. When the water in the river becomes clearer in the rainy season, many also take water from the river for bathing and washing instead of having to queue at the well,” she said.

Santi said that she had experienced the water crisis since she was little. Clean water has been a luxury for the residents of Bekasi’s. Both in Sisik Sangkal Village and Sukaduri Village, most of the residents work as fishermen, earning only IDR 1 million to 2 million at most. Their daily expenses include buying clean water for consumption.

"At times, we come home without having any money. But most of us here work as fishermen. Some are odd jobbers,” said Dwi, one of the residents.

World's top five risks

The clean water crisis in the coastal area of Bekasi is only a small fraction compared to the water crisis worldwide. But, for the local residents, this is a dire problem because it affects their health if not solved.

"Of course this is very dangerous for the health and lives of residents in Tarumajaya, Bekasi. We humanitarian agencies see it from a humanitarian perspective. This is a serious problem that must be resolved. How long will the residents of the Bekasi coast have to deal with the clean water crisis? This concerns the life of the local residents,” said Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) Bekasi Branch Manager Rizky Renanda.

According to a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), from 2012 to 2021, the clean water crisis has become among the top five global risks. According to a previous report taken from 2007 to 2011, it was not yet a major concern. This indicates that the water crisis has become widespread and become one of the prevalent problems globally.

Climate change seems to exacerbate the water crisis in Bekasi. In addition, it is partly caused by its geographical location.

According to calculations by the World Resource Institute (WRI) as quoted from Kompas.id, Indonesia is one of the countries facing a high risk of water scarcity in 2040 through the calculation of water stress projections. Indonesia has a score of 3.26 and is ranked 51st as the country with the highest water scarcity due to various factors, from population growth, geographical conditions, and natural changes.[]