Thursday, 08 September 2011 08:48
Ministry eyes technology to convert sea water to fresh water
Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 09/08/2011 8:00 AM
The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry has developed sea water desalination technology to convert sea water into fresh water to cope with expected water crises, due to the impact of climate change.
A study carried out by the ministry shows that Indonesia has several potential locations where the desalination technology could be developed.
The areas include Nusa Penida and Gondol in Bali; Lobom Strait in West Nusa Tenggara; Biak Island in Papua; Pelabuhan Ratu in West Java; as well as other sea water locations in several provinces.
“Making mineral water from the sea is a strategic step in anticipating the possibility of a clean water crisis in the future,” said Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Fadel Muhammad.
Fadel visited the mineral water company PT Omega Tirra Kyoto, which applied last week to establish desalination technology in Bali.
The ministry said that the investment needed to develop a small-scale business to convert salt water into fresh water is around Rp 15 billion.
It added that Indonesia has the production capacity within a small-scale business to produce between 10 and 15 liquid tons a day.
The capacity could be boosted to between 40 and 60 liquid tons a day with the use of two ships to pump salted water from deep sea areas.
The desalination technology can also produce a high-quality of salt.
Indonesia’s territory contains 6 percent of the world’s fresh water reserves, and 21 percent of the water reserves in the Asia-Pacific region, thanks to the high level of rainfall and the potential of both surface and ground water.
The country has long been under pressure to deal with poor water management, which causes flooding during the rainy seasons and severe water crises during periods of drought.
Many areas, including Java, Bali and Nusa Tenggara, have also suffered water crises in recent years, mainly during the dry season.
The report from the directorate general of water resources said that the demand for water to support irrigation, domestic and municipal and industrial services is around 1,074 cubic meters per second.
The Office of the Environment Minister has revealed that the quality of water in rivers, river basins and lakes, which constitute the main sources of fresh water in the country, continue to be heavily polluted by both domestic and industrial waste.
The office’s second national communication report states that the reduction of water resources is due, among other things, to high levels of forest degradation in water catchment areas, and the increasing number of cases of saltwater intrusion and land subsidence, such as in Jakarta.
It is predicted that in the face of a high population increase and an economic boom, the water crisis will worsen.
The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN-ISDR), in its 2011 report, ranks Indonesia 36th out of 184 countries as the most prone to drought, with 2,029,350 people vulnerable.
The owners of Ancol Dreamland Park in Jakarta started a desalination project in 2010 using reverse osmosis.
The US$5.72 million project currently treats 5,000 cubic meters of seawater per day, and has a total capacity to treat 10,000 cubic meters.
The water is used for the park’s operation and it has decreased their dependence on local tap water supplier PT Aetra Air Jakarta.
With a daily demand for 12,000 cubic meters of water, however, the park still requires a supply of 7,000 cubic meters of water per day
The project initially attracted protests toward the local operator but it gained support from Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo.
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