Buleleng to Improve Water Access

SINGARAJA

Buleleng administration has said it would improve access to clean water, since many areas in the regency had experienced drought despite there being many water sources.

Regent Putu Agus Suradnyana said the administration would optimize all water sources in the regency through better management.

“Buleleng has many rivers, but villages and rice fields have experienced drought,” said the regent.

He said he did not want water sources in upstream Buleleng to only be exploited by downstream south Bali.

He further explained his priorities to develop the regency to reduce disparity between the northern part of Bali and the southern part of the island, during a recent discussion in Denpasar.

He plans to develop a micro-hydro system to irrigate rice fields suffering drought.

“We have 21 wells to irrigate rice fields, each of which irrigates 400 hectares. I plan to arrange the flow of water that originates from Sanih such that it is distributed to villages,” he said, adding that he expected companies to contribute to the regency’s drought eradication programs through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.

Prof. I Wayan Arthana, head of Udayana University’s environmental research center, said that drought was one of the factors hampering development of the regency’s economy.

In fact, the regency has the second largest number of water sources in Bali, after Bangli regency, according to date from the Public Works Agency.

Buleleng has 327 of Bali’s 1,273 water sources, with a total discharge of 5,630 liters per second. Bangli has 423 water sources.

These two regencies are located in the upstream part of the island; however many areas within the two regencies often experience drought.

Meanwhile, Badung regency has the least number of water sources, but the largest water needs. The richest regency in Bali has only 30 water sources, with a discharge rate of 1,200 liters per second.

Research classified Buleleng as a regency that experienced water shortages. The regency needs around 1 billion cubic meters of water per year, while it is only able to provide 845 million cubic meters.

Arthana said 29 percent of rivers in Bali were located in Buleleng, but most of them were dry.

Meanwhile, the regent said the administration also intended to improve road networks to ease access and to construct a shorter route from Bedugul to Singaraja.

“With the existing road network, it is 26 kilometers to Singaraja, but with a shortcut, we could make it only 8 to 13 kilometers.”

Arthana suggested Buleleng built a tunnel instead of building new roads that could take up green and productive land.

He also supported the idea of building railway infrastructure to reduce the amount of green land taken up.

The regent added that, unlike the southern part of Bali, Buleleng would be developed with the concept of eco- and spiritual tourism to preserve the environment.

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