ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Jakarta runs dry
A chaotic morning could be in store for the millions of Jakartans heading back to work today after the long holiday, with the promised weekend solution to the capital’s water crisis failing to materialize.
Despite promises that the burst dike in East Jakarta’s Kalimalang River would be fixed by the end of the weekend, an official confirmed on Sunday that clean water will not flow through the taps of the hundreds of thousands of affected homes and businesses on Monday morning.
“Even if the [raw] water supply arrives at Pejompongan [treatment facility] at midnight [on Sunday], the earliest customers will receive it would be noon [on Monday],” PAM Lyonnaise Jaya (Palyja) corporate communications head Meyritha Maryanie told the Jakarta Globe.
Palyja is the worst-affected of Jakarta’s two water operators, with about 60 percent of its customers in Central, West and North Jakarta not having access to sanitized water since midnight on Wednesday, a few hours after the dike burst. The water crisis has already forced people to join long queues to buy water from expensive resellers over the past four days. It also affected shopping centers, some of which were forced to close unsanitary toilets.
The situation is expected to worsen as hundreds of thousands of travelers return to the capital after Idul Fitri celebrations. As of Sunday, the Jakarta Transportation Office said more than 900,000 travelers, not including those who took motorcycles, had returned.
Earlier on Sunday, officials were optimistic a solution had been reached after 60 sheet piles were installed to fill the gap in the dike.
The plan had been to let the raw water flow again by 5 p.m., after which it was expected to arrive at the Pejompongan plant in Central Jakarta at about 10 p.m.
Processing into clean water was then expected to take four hours, according to Sriwidayanto, the technical director with city water company PAM Jaya.
Customers living near Pejompongan were told to expect their water supply to resume early on Monday, while the rest should receive their supply “at Monday night or Tuesday morning,” Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo said.
Hasanudin, an adviser from the Citarum River Dam in West Java, said on Sunday that the installation of the sheet piles was done by 3 p.m., but later in the day the expected flow of water did not materialize. Officials have not been able to provide an explanation for the new delay.
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