Thursday, August 19, 2004

Taps run dry in Cirebon, thousands suffer

Source: The Jakarta Post

Nana Rukmana, The Jakarta Post/Cirebon

Drought has hit some subdistricts of Cirebon, West Java, leaving some 3,000 families without clean water.

President director of the Cirebon Tap Water Company Nasija Warnadi, admitted on Wednesday that his company had been unable to meet household demands for water.

The company's water supply plummeted by some 30 to 40 percent a few weeks ago, mostly caused by springs on Mount Ciremai drying up. He warned that the supply of water would further diminish if rain did not fall in Cirebon in the near future.

He explained that, similar to the springs, the water debit in three rivers in the regency had also diminished. Water debit in the three rivers had been 100 liters per second on average, but had now dropped to 40 to 60 liters per second.

Yusuf, 42, a resident of Jagapura Lor in Gegesik district here, said he had resorted to buying water from a mobile trader.

"Over the last few days our tap water supply dropped. We don't even have enough for cooking, so we decided to buy our water," said Yusuf.

He admitted that he bought 50 liters of water each day on average from the mobile water trader, at a cost of Rp 8,000 (50 U.S. cents) per 50 liters.

Separately, the leader of a government task force in Cirebon said that the task force had identified the problem and was planning to dispatch trucks to deliver free clean water.

"We are also looking at whether it is feasible to help local residents reach a supply of water by digging wells," said Aan Setiawan, chairman of the Cirebon Drought Disaster Impact Management Team.