Bali’s Consuming More Water than it Creates
Growing Water Deficit Threatens Sustainability of Bali’s Tourism Industry
As reported by NusaBali, Bali is in the midst of a “water crisis.” The Center for the Development of the Bali-Nusa Tenggara Eco-region (P3E), reports that Bali is running an annual water deficit of 336.24 million liters or 336.24 cubic meters.
Of the 9 regencies and metropolitan areas in Bali, only 4 enjoy a surplus in their water supply: Bangli, Jembrana, Buleleng, and Karangasem. The remaining 4 regencies and Denpasar are in short supply of water.
The extent of the current crisis was revealed by the Chief of P3E Bali-Nusa Tenggara, Rizaluzzaman, in a pre-event press conference held in conjunction with a symposium on “Safeguarding and Ensuring Sustainable Water Supply in Bali” held on Wednesday, October 16, 2019. The actual conference was held at the office of Bali’s Governor on Thursday, October 17, 2019.
According to Rizaluzzaman, surveys undertaken by P3E Bali-Nusa Tenggara show that 66.1% of Bali has an “average” rating for its water supply, while 29.72% are classified as having a “low” water supply and 3.67% are classified as having a “high” or abundant water supply.
The lowest available water supply occurs in Buleleng for the Districts of Gerogak, Kabutambahan, and Tejakula. Critically low supplies of water are also reported in Klungkung. Meanwhile, Bangli, located in a mountainous lake district of Bali, has an abundant surplus of water.
Rizaluzzaman said that anyone wanting to know the water situation in any area only need look at the leaves on the local trees. He explained that forest cover areas with small leaves have limited water supplies and areas with trees displaying large leaves tend to have surplus water supplies. Accordingly, the Government ecologist recommends that areas with trees with large leaves remain undisturbed and allowed to act as land banks or water reservoirs for the rest of the Island.
He went on to emphasize that Bali must pay special attention to water conservation, adding, “What happens to tourism without water?”
Rizaluzzaman noted with appreciation efforts by hotels in Bali to create water absorption areas to preserve subterranean water tables.
The same warning regarding a diminishing water supply was also sounded by a representative of the Agency for Riverways (BWS) for Bali-Penida, I Ketut Alit Sudiastika, who said Bali is experiencing a water deficit of 18.73 cubic meters of water every second of the day. The current water demand for the entire island of Bali has reached 119.96 cubic meters per second. This compares to a supply capacity of only 101.23 cubic meters of water per second.
Alit Sudiastika said Bali has the potential of producing 216.87 cubic meters of water per second, a total that could only be achieved with a substantial investment in infrastructure. Sudiastika said Bali’s declining water supply was due, in large part, to the rapid change in land usage that is destroying what were once water catchment areas.
Bali counts 391 rivers with a total length of 2,776 kilometers. Of the 391 rivers, only 162 maintain a flow of water on a year-round basis. A remaining 153 rivers only flow during the rainy season and 76 rivers are classified as “dead” or “dried up.”