There are predictions that 2015 will bring water shortages to a number of Indonesian regions. The Indonesian Department of Environment estimates the water deficit in Bali to be as much as 27.6 million cubic metres.Contributing to the over-commitment of water resources is rapid economic development, population growth and uneven population distribution caused by urbanisation. Urbanisation also causes land-use changes with a range of impacts on water availability and quality. An increasing number of Balinese farmers are cultivating strawberries and flowers to cater for the tourist industry, while the amount of forested areas is declining. This has a two-fold impact; increased water use for crop production, and reduced forest in the watershed. Forests provide an important ecosystem service, slowing run-off from rain and preventing erosion thereby reducing sedimentation in waterways. The Indonesia Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency advised in 2014 that El Niño affected a number of regions in Indonesia, and contributed to a longer dry season. Future climate projections for Indonesia indicate El Niño is likely to occur more often, bringing increased frequency of extreme events (increased drought, and more intense rain events with a shorter rainy season). Already a number of regions in Java, Kalimantan, and Bali experience water shortages towards the end of the dry season from August and October. Indonesia is vulnerable to future changes in rainfall and extreme events due to its geography and socio-economic factors, for example social vulnerability of its poorest populations to natural disasters.
Accessing clean water is strongly linked to economic and social factors. Many poor and low income households lack access to clean water, or need to spend a significant proportion of their income purifying water by boiling or through filtration. The cost of fuel to boil water can be as much as 13% of the household income, and diverts money from other important uses which may allow the household to rise above poverty, such as education.
In the Northern Bali district of Kubu, community members needed to travel 3 kilometres or sell livestock to access clean water for every day needs. Due to the shortage of water some Balinese residents contemplated sinking wells or installing water tanks. However, this is not a solution many of the general population can afford. A bore needs to be drilled to a minimum of 80 metres depth to access the water table at a cost of RP100.000.000 ( 9715) including pumps and pipes. Access to clean water becomes an economic issue, with wealthy still able to access clean water from bores, while villagers nearby experience difficulties accessing water for home and business.
Handle with Care International’s Clean Water Project aims to improve access to clean water for some of the most under-privileged communities through research, community hygiene projects, education and distributing cost-effective water purification solutions like LifeStraw Family Filters and the funding and building of water storage tanks.