The Institute for Sustainable Futures – University of Technology Sydney (UTS-ISF) and Universitas Indonesia (UI) held a national workshop titled “Risk and Opportunities of Self-Supply as Safely Managed Water in Indonesia”. This workshop was the last of a series of ISF-UTS and UI self-supply research projects at the local and national level which was conducted since 2019 and supported by the Australian Government Water for Women Fund. The event was held on 13 September 2022 at Royal Kuningan Hotel Jakarta and online via zoom meeting simultaneously. Participants included several relevant ministries, local government agencies, bilateral/multilateral institutions, and academics.

The workshop aimed to disseminate the research results and critically discuss the findings of research conducted in study locations (Bekasi and Metro City) on the risks and potential of self-supply as safely managed drinking water source to support the government in achieving SDG 6.1. In addition, this workshop was intended to trigger discussions and solicit government aspirations on follow-up actions for self-supply management and transition to safe water supply for households in urban areas.

This workshop was formally opened by Tri Dewi Virgiyanti (Director of Urban, Housing and Settlements Bappenas Indonesia). She mentioned that there is still a large gap between the achievement and target of safe water access in Indonesia according to SDG 6.1. She acknowledged that the use of non-piped drinking water supply (including self-supply) is increasing. Based on a non-piped drinking water supply study from Bappenas which was presented by Nur Aisyah (Coordinator of Drinking Water and Sanitation in the Directorate of Urban, Housing and Settlements Bappenas Indonesia) afterward, the Indonesia government planned 45% access to safe drinking water (43% of piped water supply and 2% non-piped water supply) in 2030. She also explained that there is a need for policies that regulate surveillance systems at the household level related to the biological and chemical quality of groundwater as well as clarifying the roles and responsibilities of relevant local government agencies.

Next, Cindy R. Priadi (UI) and Tim Foster (ISF-UTS) presented the results of the self-supply study in Indonesia, especially Bekasi and Metro City. There were five risk categories presented for self-supply governance. For the environmental risk category which included contamination and over-extraction of groundwater, the research found about 10-40% of households using self-supply in Bekasi and Metro were contaminated with a high-level risk of E. coli. Health and water safety risks were identified especially in the point-of-use storage and treatment process. Results showed boiling water can reduce the risk of E. coli contamination, but recontamination potentially occurs during storage. Other risks were social & financial risks, technical risks, health risks, and institutional risks related to governance, monitoring, and regulation of groundwater use in households and the business sector.

A woman in a pink top and pink headscarf talks into a microphone   Tim Foster
Cindy R. Priadi (left) and Tim Foster (right) presented self-supply research results (Doc. Crita Picture)

Tim Foster (ISF-UTS) explained six main recommendations based on the analysis of the research results. The recommendations were as follows: (1) establishing national and sub-national policies related to self-supply; (2) improving policy implementation in groundwater management; (3) expanding efforts to raise awareness of water safety in households using self-supply; (4) developing a policy framework for monitoring of self-supply service levels; (5) professionalisation of relevant service providers and (6) ensuring equitable outcomes.

The presentation was followed by a focus group discussion which aimed to trigger discussion from all participants present and collect their aspirations regarding the follow-up action for proposed recommendations. The participants seemed enthusiastic about sharing their perspectives. They also appreciated this research and hoped this research could be replicated in other cities. In general, the result of group discussions focused on the importance of the central and regional governments in carrying out gap analysis related to self-supply; the need for the central government to formulate a self-supply policy and include it in the Medium-Term National Development Plan (RPJMN) and Regional Long Term Development Plan (RPJMD); and the government must conduct socialisation to the public about safe groundwater for consumption and well construction standard.

Members of the focus group sit around a table talking

Focus Group Discussion (Doc. Crita Picture)

In closing the workshop, Nur Aisyah (Bappenas Indonesia) remarked that the inputs from this workshop will be included in the future RPJMN and RPJMD, and Bappenas will specifically include policies regarding self-supply. Thus, it is expected there will be a formal policy on self-supply in 2024, either in Government Regulation number 122 year 2015 on Drinking Water Supply, or its derivative regulations that could strengthen existing groundwater governance.

Authors: Gita Putri and Rahayu Handayani, University of Indonesia

Main picture: Some of the workshop participants, speakers, and the organising committee (Doc. Crita Picture)