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Kuta's Bitter Cup

Bali Authorities Call on Waterbom Park to Reduce Groundwater Use to Help Remedy Increasing Salinity of Local Water Supply.

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BisnisBali reports that Bali's Zoning Authority (Dinas Cipta Karya-DCK) have asked Bali's Waterbom Park to reduce their use of ground water following complaints from surrounding residents of increased salinity in their water supply. The DCK have said that if the salinity problems persist they will be forced to shut off water supplies to the popular water park.

Access to ground water is, according to regulation, strictly controlled with special licenses required to sink water wells. The DCK has issued only 255 ground water permits in Kuta.

A spokesman for the DCK, Putu Wiarka, told the press that salinity in Kuta's ground water is generally a problem, particularly during the dry season when salt concentrations increase in the absence of regular rainfall.

The Badung Environmental Agency (BLH), has responded to the situation claiming that ground water sources in Kuta have been over exploited.

NusaBali reports that Waterbom is licensed to tap into local ground water supplies to a maximum level of 2,592 cubic meters each month.

According to NusaBali, the DCK claims the water park has used twice the authorized amount of ground water over the past several months. The DCK has also revealed seeming anomalies in tests conducted on local ground water by Waterbom and the government. Electrical conductivity tests results (used to measure salinity) reported by Waterbom regarding of its two ground water sources on March 4, 2009, showed 750 mhos/cm and 680 mhos/cm, respectively. Tests conducted at the same water sources by DCK on June 23, 2009, obtained results of 2,791 mhos/cm and 2,369 mhos/cm - demonstrating a high level of salinity.

The Head of the Mining and Energy Division of DCK, Putu Wiarka, has dismissed the wide variance in the two tests as attributable to the 3-plus months between the two tests. Wiarka told NusaBali that such a change in results could not occur over the course of just a few months and must represent an error in the March report submitted by Waterbom.

The DCK has now directed Waterbom to change the laboratory used to analyze ground water samples while reducing the amount of ground water used by the park.

Waterbom Responds

Quoted in NusaBali, the Chief Financial Officer of Waterbom, Nyoman Suteja, has denied that the park violated limits on maximum amounts of ground water used, insisting that only 100-125 cubic meters of ground water were used each day.

The park's extensive collection of pools contain some 1.5 million cubic meters of water, most of which is continually treated and recycled by the park.

Suteja views as unfair the disproportionate amount of focus being placed on Waterbom in the current situation, calling on authorities to check on all legal and illegal ground wells in use in the Kuta area. The Park also pointed to the failure of the government to make city water available to the very heavily populated area of Kuta as the real underlying cause for any overuse of ground water.

The General Manager of Waterbom, Maman Lingga, told NusaBali that the Park has not received complaints regarding water quality from surrounding residents and community officials.

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