Collecting rainwater may support groundwater resources

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Media : The Jakarta Post

Date : Friday, January 29, 2010

Page : 17

Tone : Neutral

Position : Right Center

Section : City

A recent workshop suggested that storing rainwater could improve domestic groundwater supply.

Hydro-geologist Fatchy Muhammad said rainwater was a valuable resource that should be collected as much as possible on the ground instead of being directly drained away.

"Rainwater has good mineral content, which should not just be washed to sea. If we provide water absorption, it will become groundwater and help manage floods at the same time;' he said.

He expressed concern with an article in the 2030 Spatial Plan draft limiting groundwater usage, pushing residents to use tap water.

"We 'still have wells, which will remain in good condition if we maintain them;' he said.

Fatchy said his aim was to have balanced usage of groundwater and tap water.

When households or compa-

nies use groundwater, he said, they should first examine the availability of groundwater on their land. When the groundwater resource is in surplus, they can choose to use it or tap water instead.

"If they use groundwater, they should conserve rainwater by digging biopore infiltration holes or wells," he said, adding that this would lead to balanced usage.

When asked about the groundwater tax applied to corporations, he said companies should pay based on the disparity between the groundwater they use and the rainwater they collect.

"Companies can use meters to calculate the aniount of water they use. They can also calculate the amount of rainwater they absorb."

Fatchy said people from middleto upper-income groups had an obligation to dig biopores, while companies should dig wells. The city, he said, should construct man-made lakes for water absorption.

"We already have a regulation stipulating that companies dig wells

for rainwater absorption. The city has to supervise and enforce it."

He said unchecked development led to green spaces like forests being turned into buildings, in turn changing hydrological functions, which led to floods in the rainy season.

The city, he said, should focus on restoring the land's absorption function if the officials want sustainable water management.

Marco Kusumawijaya, from urban community, expressed a different opinion, saying the city's current method of draining away rainwater into including canals and rivers was the best short-term solution for flood mitigation.

He said rainwater absorption would be a better long-term solution for a better environment.

He said the city did not have a zero runoff law like Santa Monica, California, which limits surface water runoff from houses and streets.

"People would have to pay for water that flows from their house because the drainage system is considered a service," he said.

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