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Indonesia Healthy Rivers Challenge 2020: It’s time for the Welang River

Indonesia Healthy Rivers Challenge 2020

Bilateral cooperation between Indonesia and the Netherlands

The Government of the Netherlands (GON) through the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and the Government of Indonesia (GOI) through its Ministry of Public Works and Housing (PUPR) have long-lasting cooperation on the water which is secured in a Memorandum of Understanding on Water (MoU-Water) for 2015-2020.

In March 2020, both governments have agreed to extend the current MoU, with the aim to sign a new MoU by the end of 2020. At this stage four main themes have been defined as the conceptual framework for the bilateral cooperation, namely 1) Resilient cities, 2) Integrated Water Resource Management (including River Basin Management) 3) Water governance and 4) Smart water.

Under the proposed new MoU, the Government of East-Java and the Netherlands have agreed to develop a Flood Management and Master Plan for the Welang River. This project supports the Indonesian national priority program, which is enlisted in Presidential Decrees No. 56/2018 and No. 80/2019.

Supporting this project, the Government of East-Java and the Netherlands have commissioned The Water Agency to organise the Healthy Rivers Challenge to engage students and young professionals with the bilateral collaboration and educate them about the importance of sustainable river management and to generate innovative ideas and solutions for the Welang River that can provide inspiration and input for the Master Plan.


About Welang and East Java

The area of Welang Watershed from the upstream to downstream is 498.03 km2, with main river length of 40.6 km. The water from Welang River comes from the surface water flow and groundwater flow in the area of Mount Arjuna and Mount Bromo. Welang River is administratively unique as it is located in three areas: Malang Regency (upstream), Pasuruan Regency (midstream) and Pasuruan City (downstream).

The Welang river basin suffers from a number of water-related problems, many of them caused by man-made disturbances in the river catchment. The most evident issues are flooding, land-use changes, deforestation and soil erosion, clogging by sediment and waste, a decrease in water availability and river pollution.

A majority of the population lives in smaller settlements, with Lawang and Pasuruan being larger towns. Pasuruan city has approximately 190,000 inhabitants. The majority of the people are smallholder farmers and a considerable part is employed in diverse services in Lawang, Malang and Pasuruan. Industries are located in the vicinity of Pasuruan and along the main road between Malang and Pasuruan.


Introducing: Indonesia Healthy Rivers Challenge 2020

Indonesia Healthy Rivers Challenge 2020 is a competition that challenges and inspires Indonesia’s next generation river leaders to contribute their own original ideas and solutions towards the sustainable development of river basins.

A group of selected students and young professionals from across Indonesia will work in teams on assignments. They are supported by professionals who act as their mentors throughout the program. At the request of the East Java Province, the teams will be tasked to develop their own version of a Master Plan for the Welang River.

In this Master Plan, the teams should articulate their own original perspective on how flooding can be reduced through a mix of solutions, interventions and approaches while balancing the interests of/impacts on the built, social, natural and economic environment.

The overall assignment starts from mid-October to late November, taking approximately one month of mentoring and designing process. All three phases of the River Academy is combining a smart mix of online and offline mentoring activities. On Phase III of River Academy, the participants are expected to pitch their ideas of the much-anticipated Master Plan to a panel of juries and stakeholders.

For more information and update, check the collaboration page and join the group.

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