Nusa Dua - Subak or water irrigation system for rice field became main focus in symposium 2. Highlighting the theme “Water for life: Reconciling Socio-Economic Growth and Environmental Ethichs”, Indonesian Government encouraged all world’s community to discuss the importance of water as a part of social growth and sustainable development.
The three speakers in the forum were Wayan Windia (Subak Expert), Hendro Sangkoyo (Environmental activist), dan Satoko Kishimoto (irrigation expert). The three speakers described how water is related to human life and local culture. The traditional irrigation system or Subak become one of true model of the culture of water management in Bali, which was the mein topic of symposium 2.
In his presentation, Wayan Windia explained that the topography of Bali was one of the reasons for the importance of Subak. “Subak existed because of the sloping topography of Bali, giving opportunity to distribute water fairly. Every Subak has to have one special canal to irrigate the rice field, which will irrigate another canal and Subak in the lower level.” He said. Subak, he added, must be able to distribute water only through one inlet and outlet.
Meanwhile, Hendro Sangkoyo was more focusing on water crisis in a number of regions in Indonesia. According to Hendro, most of the water-related -problems occurred because of peoples’ irresponsible act of throwing garbage into the river and the ill effects of exploration and extraction of oil and gas.
“City expansion also resulted in water crisis, due to rampant water extraction. The Greenbelt planning which was planned by government to save land and water was defeated by the strong will to build hotels and villas. In some cases, water crisis had created strong conflict and mistrust between farmers and local citizen.” Hendro stated.
He also said that some complex situations in water issues are created by irresponsible people. “The period of cooperation between economic and social nexuses could become the solution for solving the social-economic problem among government, public, and local citizen. Social practice can also be solution to solve the crisis”. He said.
On the other hand, Satoko Kishimoto gave another view. She said that water should be treated as human being not as commodity which eventually created a new problem. “Water should be publicly accessible. Everyone should be able to acquire water easily. If you consider water as commodity, other problem will arise.” Stated Satoko. “In Jakarta, for example, where clean water becomes major issue and in eventually many people extracted ground water despite the fact of the contaminated extracted ground water and the worsening soil sinking of Jakarta. People of Jakarta, especially the poor ones, should buy water with an expensive tariff,” she concluded.