Thursday, June 10, 2004

Consumers told to cut tap water usage

Bambang Nurbianto and Evi Mariani, Jakarta

For Lita, a 28-year-old mother of two, staying awake every night is no fun at all. After all, she's not staying up to watch the soccer matches during Euro 2004, but for to watch for water from her taps in her house in Karet, Central Jakarta.

Lita has been experiencing a water shortage since Monday when the tap water supply stopped completely. On Wednesday, she felt relief as the water started to drip at around 11 p.m. before it stopped again an hour later.

As a result, Lita, who produces wedding souvenirs in the small workshop in her home, has had big problems supplying the water needs of the six people in the house.

"I didn't call the 24-hour customer service line because I knew already what the officer there would have told me. I'm really worried because the water supply is causing problems even though it is not the dry season yet," she told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.

Lita recalled how she had to buy dozens of plastic containers of water from the supplier in the neighborhood, around one-kilometer away from her home.

"If the water supply is going to be cut off, Palyja (PT PAM Lyonnaise Jaya) should have made a schedule for every area so that we know when we should store water," she said.

Jack, a tenant of an apartment in Kuningan, South Jakarta, was a bit luckier. The apartment management announced to its tenants last Friday that they would ration the water supply following the receipt of a notice from water utility.

"It's very inconvenient for me late at night. Outside the designated hours, we have no water," he complained, adding that the water ran from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

"So, from 10 p.m. on, we can't take a shower, wash the dishes or flush the toilet," he added.

Palyja spokeswoman Maria Sidabutar told the Post that the company, which serves the western part of Jakarta, had been experiencing raw water supply shortages since early June.

"Since June 13, the water supply from Perum Jasa Tirta II in Kalimalang has been only around 3,700 liters per second. It was far below the normal 5,400 liters per second," she said.

Jasa Tirta receives its water supply from the Jatiluhur dam in Purwakarta, West Java, via the West Tarum Canal.

She said the water supply had just returned to normal at 10 a.m. on Saturday, but there was no guarantee that the raw water supply would continue to be sufficient. Therefore, she called on consumers to be economical with the use of water.

Palyja had announced earlier that water restrictions would be imposed on some areas of Central Jakarta, North Jakarta and South Jakarta.

The areas affected are Jl. Sudirman, Jl. Thamrin, the National Monument (Monas) area, Jl. Kalibata and the Harmoni area.

According to Maria, if the raw water supply to Palyja reaches 5,400 liters per second, the restrictions can be lifted.

Consumers can seek further information using Palyja's 24-hour hotline at (021) 57986555.