Crisis Team Tries to Save Lake Batur

BANGLI

With Bangli’s Lake Batur facing serious environmental threats, the Bali administration has formed a special team to try to save it from further degradation.

Head of the Bali Environmental Department Anak Agung Gde Alit Sastrawan said the lake was not just a tourist attraction and an important ecosystem; it was also a key source of groundwater for the lower parts of Bali, and therefore vital for agriculture.
“We have found sodium and phosphates in the lake’s water at an alarming level,” he said, adding that the lake’s water was not considered fit for human consumption. The phosphates are believed to have come from fertilisers used on surrounding farmland, and in the fish farms which ring the lake’s shores.

Sastrawan said that the fertiliser had caused algal blooms in the lake, which had reduced oxygen levels and damaged the ecosystem. Meanwhile, mining and pollution had also added to the problems.

Batur is the largest body of fresh water in Bali. It feeds major water courses running into neighbouring Gianyar regency, and provides irrigation for farming there.

Sastrawan said a forum had been formed, consisting of department officials, NGO members and other stakeholders.

“This forum will develop a comprehensive program to save the lake and evaluate the program,” he said.

Sastrawan said one way to relieve pressure on the lake would be to encourage alternative sources of income for local people, to reduce the exploitation of the waters through fish farming.

“We are also trying to find other alternatives. It’s not really complicated. It just needs commitment from all stakeholders,” he said.

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