Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Incredibly Sinking Jakarta And Flood

Jakarta is Rotterdam's partner city. Both cities have areas which is below the sea-level. In case of Rotterdam, the lowest point in Lowland, which is 7 meter below the sea level, is in very near to Rotterdam. In fact before they discover the exact lowest point it was thought that the lowest point was in the area of Prins Alexander in Rotterdam and they made a monument on that site. In years I lived in lowland, not once I experienced flooding myself. Dont get me wrong, there are incidences of flooding in lowland, I was just lucky enough to not experienced it.

Then I moved to Jakarta. Even in my area which supposed to be above the sea-level, there are areas that get flooded as soon as there are heavy rain due to bad drainage. Back in October Jakarta stood still from flooding. People called it the biggest waterpark in the world. Yes, we now have east flood canal, which should ease the flooding in the area, but from I heard there are still problem up north where the land is sinking in an alarming rate.

I thought it was due to climate change, but from I learned so far, the effect of climate change on the rising of sea level is not that big. What worse is the sinking of the ground. Apparently Jakarta sinks in about 12cm per year, and that's according to a very conservative calculation! It is partly due to the amount of water being pump for the industry (and housing).

Rotterdam has offered their assistance to Jakarta. I think Jakarta can learn a lot from its partner city on how they handle living below the sea level. Rotterdam has Deltawork protecting the harbor and city. Jakarta has nothing protecting the city from surge of sea level. With the sinking of the land, and the rising of sea level, when there's heavy rain, all the water cant go to the sea and starts to accumulate in pocket areas resulting in flooding. We also need to have an alternative for pumping water for the industry.

What I find interesting is that even though Jakarta's always flooding in certain areas, it seems no one care enough to calculate if the next rain will resulted in huge flood or just a normal flood, and for how long. I would've thought business sector would need this data to forecast their business challenges and opportunities. The government could also use such data to mitigate the problem and lower the cost of such flood. It had been estimated that the cost of the huge flood in 2007 ran up to USD 1 billion. It seems like our local and national government are not interested in prevention policy in every sector. I guess they never heard the proverb: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

I know one thing though, the flood prevention will be a subject to be discussed by who ever run for the governor of Jakarta office in 2012.


Harry Nizam said...

Hi Triesti,
A very clear information of the floods in Jakarta.
I once read that if there is better solution to stop the sinking, several decades from now parts of North Jakarta like Tanjung Priok and surrounding area will be completely drowned.

triesti said...

Yupe.. we need a dike in the north of Jakarta.. the kind like afsluitdijk or deltawork in NL..

colson said...

Actually I think there has been signed some kind of cooperation on water-management between Jakarta and Rotterdam (http://www.tempointeractive.com/hg/nasional/2011/02/02/brk,20110202-310738,uk.html).

The problem seems to be a huge though. It is about dikes, but also about more and cleaned-up waterways, a viable sewer-system, a lot of semi-eternal dredging, smarter city-planning ... and astronomic investments.

On the other hand - it is hardly a choice.

triesti said...

@colson Yupe. I think it needs in the region of trillion dollar to build a dike, and all the necessary things need to be done to alleviate the flood problem. The question is: who is paying? I dont think EU will give the money because Indonesia is now a member of G20

colson said...

@ triesti: Well, the G20 status is relative. It is a mixture of economic and political relevance.

The question who is gonna pay for it? I guess the answer is: the Indonesian people.Except for providing technical know-how, which may be paid by "Ontwikkelingshulp".

If a lucrative business deal could be struck, some EU member-states probably would be very willing to provide money for infrastructure ( dikes, canals, dredging etc) - I assume.

triesti said...

Well, As you already know, Indonesian people doesnt pay enough tax to finance such a thing. we cant even get investor for monorail which I think a much better strategy than MRT in Jakarta. Oh Well