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1.3.05 Model region Gunung Kidul – integrated water resource management in karst regions

Gunung Sewu on the southern coast of Java is characterised by its tropical climate. In the dry season, the karst region suffers an acute lack of water; this weakens this agricultural area so badly that it is also referred to as the poor house of Java. The region also suffers from an appalling supply system and completely insufficient means of wastewater disposal. Supported by the BMBF, scientists over recent years have already set up an underground reservoir and used regenerative hydropower to supply cave water. The follow-up project is now opening up additional water supplies and developing a concept for integrated water resource management. The quality of life among the inhabitants is set to improve long term with these measures.

The Gunung Kidul district near the city of Yogyakarta is one of the poorest regions on Java. One reason for this is the fissured karst ground, which soaks up the surface water straightaway. On top of this, there is a lack of adapted technologies to obtain and distribute drinking water and to treat wastewater. This is where the BMBF project entitled “Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) in Gunung Kidul, Java, Indonesia” an. comes in: the aim of this project is to secure a supply of drinking water for the region; this necessitates tapping into the underground water resources in the Gunung Sewu cave systems (“1000 hills”) and the karst groundwater of the Wonosari Plateau, and sanitising existing water distribution systems. Newly developed technologies are intended to help supply the population with sufficient clean water all year round, without placing an additional burden on future generations or neighbouring regions.

Basic design of integrated water resource management (IWRM)

Basic design of integrated water resource management (IWRM)
Basic design of integrated water resource management (IWRM)

Location of the Gunung Sewu karst region on Java, Indonesia

Location of the Gunung Sewu karst region on Java, Indonesia
Location of the Gunung Sewu karst region on Java, Indonesia

The research project is being run by the Institute for Water and River Basin Management (IWG) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and involves the collaboration of German and Indonesian partners from universities, research facilities, industry and public authorities.

Surveying and managing the water resources

The basis of an IWRM project is sound knowledge of all the conditions affecting the water within a given region. The data already gained for the basin of the Gua Bribin cave in the precursory project is to be expanded and optimised with the new findings within management and distribution systems, and strategies to protect precious water resources are to be developed.

A barrage installed in the precursory project retains the inflowing water within the Gua Bribin cave. This generates sufficient pressure to operate pumps to deliver the water. The scientists are now planning to implement another pumping facility within the Gua Seropan cave; the energy to drive this is to be produced via a wooden pressure line. The two facilities will provide valuable practical experience for the use of regenerative pumping technologies in karst regions.

Distribution, treatment, quality assurance

The Gunung Sewu karst region during the dry season

The Gunung Sewu karst region during the dry season
The Gunung Sewu karst region during the dry season

The existing water distribution systems in the rural areas of Gunung Sewu must be improved as a matter of priority. Alongside a cost-efficient network and operating concept, the scientists also intend to develop a concept for decentralised energy recovery within the distribution network and to implement this at selected example sites.

A management tool is to support and assist the local authorities in their decisions in order to optimise the operation of the network.

Another vital aspect is assuring the quality of the water. Researchers are therefore developing a monitoring system to keep a permanent watch on the quality of the untreated water and the water in the distribution systems. They are installing a pilot water treatment facility in the Wonosari hospital, which if successful will serve as a template for further decentralised facilities in the region.

Treating wastewater and waste

With regard to treating wastewater and waste, the intention is to develop adapted technologies for separating, treating, using and returning flows of wastewater and waste. The ultimate aim is an enclosed nutrient cycle and assurance of the scarce water resources available. The scientists must develop a “substance flow model” as part of the preparatory work for devising a sustainable disposal concept. This maps all the relevant, water-related nutrient flows within the region, depicts existing problems and helps determine the areas on which the work should focus. The stark differences between the urban and rural sections of the model region mean that solution approaches must differ depending on the area.

Socio-economic evaluation and technology impact assessment

A socio-economic analysis can be used to determine the living conditions and problems relating to water supply and wastewater disposal within the region of investigation according to the different areas and to develop possible solutions. The systems analysis and technology impact assessment – supplemented by the life-cycle assessment and life-cycle costing are also used to evaluate economic, ecological, social, cultural and acceptance-related aspects. The results facilitate decision-making with regard to designing and implementing water management facilities, enable the effect of this system to be judged in terms of sustainable development within the affected region and support the overall IWRM project in making such a contribution.

Expanding knowledge

Technical concepts are only sustainable if the target groups accept the concept in question and are involved in all phases of the project. The design and implementation of technical concepts within this project are therefore accompanied by workshops, familiarisation campaigns and an intensive transfer of knowledge. The scientists have worked together with the Indonesian partner institutions on all tasks and have involved NGOs and the local population to some extent. Also planned is a comprehensive teaching and education programme for the staff operating and maintaining the water management facilities. This is also intended to form the basis for the transfer of the IWRM concept to other locations and trigger its multiplication with as diverse a base as possible.

Strategies to combat water shortage

The new underground flowing water system and IWRM concept for Gunung Kidul will provide significant approaches to overcoming the shortage of water in karst regions but also in non-karst regions. Significantly, the project is also making a contribution to intercultural understanding, which is of vital importance in light of the global political situation.

Project website (only in German) www.iwrm-indonesien.de

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Water and River Basin Management

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. h. c. mult. Franz Nestmann
Dr.-Ing. Peter Oberle
Dr.-Ing. Muhammad Ikhwan
Kaiserstraße 12
76131 Karlsruhe, Germany
Tel.: +49(0)7 21/6 08-63 88
Fax: +49(0)7 21/60 60 46
E-mail: peter.oberle@kit.edu
Funding reference: 02WM0877
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