Saturday, September 25, 2004

Water crisis hits regencies in NTT

Source: The Jakarta Post

Yemris Fointuna, The Jakarta Post, Kupang

Springs, wells and rivers in five regencies and municipalities in East Nusa Tenggara have dried up due to a prolonged drought. Because of the resulting water crisis, local residents have to purchase clean water from private companies for Rp 75,000 (US$8) for a 5,000-liter tank. In Kupang municipality, 10 subdistricts in four districts have been feeling the effects of the water crisis, while in Kupang regency, all subdistricts in eight districts are affected.

Kupang PDAM state tap water company spokesman Karel Nope said on Friday that the water crisis began in August, when the water level in 22 springs managed by the company started to decrease. Karel said that he expected rain to fall soon in the area so that a worse water crisis could be averted.
Three other regencies are experiencing water shortages, namely South Central Timor, North Central Timor and Belu.
The water crisis has some concerned that complete crop failure is eminent, as some farmland has begun to dry up.
Residents are buying clean water for household use.
'We haven't been supplied water by the state tap water company for a week, so we have to buy water from private companies at a higher price,' said Johanis Nahak, a resident in the Belu capital of Atambua.
In Kupang regency, people have to walk three kilometers to get clean water. 'Springs and wells in our subdistrict started drying up a few weeks ago,' said Eres I. Sikki, the head of Tunbaun subdistrict, West Amarasi district, Kupang regency.