For much of the past few years, the people of Kapuk Muara subdistrict in North Jakarta have suffered from a severe lack of access to clean running water.
The issue dates back to the early 2000s, with water often only being limited in its availability to the early hours of the morning for the area’s 600 families.
The situation was exacerbated around 2011 when the city administration’s work in elevating a local bridge disrupted the subdistrict’s water flow even further, to the point where no water would come out of faucets at all.
According to Abdul Azis, a Kapuk Muara resident who serves as a Jakarta regional legislative council (DPRD) member, if any water did come out, it would often be yellow or black in color. Locals subsequently had to resort to drastic measures.
“Many of us had to get water from nearby Pejagalan subdistrict. We would have to pay anywhere between Rp 7 to 10 million to have a water system built that would allow us to have running water. These water services are not exactly official,” Azis said.
Despite a constant outpouring of complaints about the lack of water from residents, bureaucratic tangles made it difficult for any solutions to be achieved. Officials were worried that any changes to the local infrastructure could lead to flooding in the area.
All of this changed this past month when city-owned water operator PDAM Jaya worked together with its partner, private water operator PT PAM Lyonnaise Jaya (Palyja), to finally solve the problem and return the flow of running water to the people of Kapuk Muara.
The solution involved lowering a major water pipe in the area by around 1.5 meters, which allowed the pipe in question to increase its water pressure from 4 to 20 liters per second, allowing for a full flow of water to reach Kapuk Muara households.
Work on this project began in August earlier this year and ended in November. It cost the company an estimated Rp 500 million to cover all the necessary repair work for lowering the pipeline, which is 300 mm in diameter.
Thanks to this change, the 600 families of Kapuk Muara now have almost full access to running water. This repair work has also indirectly benefited an additional 1,100 families in the nearby Duta Harapan Indah housing complex.
“A total of 1,700 families can now enjoy clean water services that we have provided,” said Erlan Hidayat, PDAM Jaya’s executive director.
Local residents welcomed this long-awaited fix with a sigh of relief. At the same time much work remains to be done. A near decade of unused water systems in Kapuk Muara has led to many households suffering from rusty and leaky pipes.
Many residents are also still skeptical as to whether or not Palyja’s work on increasing the local water pipeline’s pressure will bring long-term benefits. Some continue to use the “unofficial” services from nearby Pejagalan.
Palyja is responding to these issues and concerns with “optimization” work that involves taking all the necessary measures to ensure that water can flow into each of the subdistrict’s households without any issue.
“Just because we have made water available doesn’t mean that it can get into houses. We will fix any rusty or leaky pipes as well as broken water meters,” Erlan said.
Progress on these optimization efforts is already well underway, despite the fact that work on it has only begun quite recently.
“We are already at 80 percent complete with the optimization process. We should be able to get all things smoothly running at 100 percent by next month,” said Lydia Astriningworo, a CCSR division head at Palyja.
The company has also installed local command posts that allow residents to immediately file complaints and have the company come up with immediate responses.
“We really appreciate that Palyja has gone to these lengths to show their commitment to maximizing their delivery of services. They have been spending the past two to three months doing intensive optimization work to ensure that we get running water. They even put up a local command post. We hope they can increase or at least maintain this work performance so that residents can get the best services,” said Irsyad, who is a local neighborhood chief in Kapuk Muara.