That the traditional subak system of water distribution is under threat is a revealed fact, requiring one to look no further than Bali’s capital of Denpasar for proof that the days of the time-honored subak system may be numbered.
Radar Bali reports that Bali’s ancient irrigation system is threatened not only by newcomers to Bali, but also by the acts of Bali’s endemic population. This assessment was tabled during a seminar on “Revitalizing the Subak to Become an Economic Agribusiness Enterprise that Can Raise the Living Standard of Farmers.”
The seminar, conducted by the agricultural faculty of Bali’s Udayana University was held on April 11, 2012. The Dean of the agriculture facility, Professor Dr. Ir. Nyoman Rai, raised an alarm that a latent threat to the very existence of the subak system currently exists in Bali.
Professor Rai said the outside threat to the subak comes from those who seek to change the functional use of land in Bali. “The process of changing agricultural land to housing must be halted. This is needed to save the subak,” warned the Professor.
Warning the position of the subak is becoming increasingly squeezed, he pointed out that the internal threat to the ancient irrigation system emanates from the competition for water resources among tourism activities and the State water board (PDAM).
The academic called for the establishment of a management model for subak that can be duplicated across the island in order to save the ancient irrigation system. The professor also underlined that the preservation of the subak system and the iconic rice terraces they feed will, in the end, preserve a majestic attraction that will continue to lure tourist visitors to Bali.
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