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Pekalongan Batik Wastewater Project: Road to Green Batik

Pekalongan is a small city on the north coast of Central Java, well-known for its famous batik textile industry in Indonesia. Batik is a UNESCO-recognized Intangible World Cultural Heritage from Indonesia and has always been a part of Indonesian pride and identity, nationally and internationally.

Batik reflects the unique identity of certain parts of Indonesia. The craftsmanship – its pattern, colour combination, and skill – is passed down from generation to generation. Most of the batik in Indonesia is crafted in Pekalongan by approximately 1,500 mostly small-scale, family-owned businesses.

Batik industry workshops are spread throughout Pekalongan City, often in small household workshops. To some extent, this industry plays a part in significant overexploitation and pollution of water. Since batik textile workshops use large amounts of water, the sector contributes to the depletion of groundwater and, with that, to land subsidence, making the city more vulnerable to coastal flooding.

The Dutch government is strongly committed to supporting the City of Pekalongan to develop more sustainable and healthy management of water resources to benefit all people. The Water Agency is appointed to run matchmaking activities that will help the local batik communities, government agencies, and the sustainability of the batik sector.

Areas of the matchmaking activities are regarding the industry’s water footprint; addressing the production, management, and treatment of wastewater; and exploring the possibility to reuse treated wastewater and reduce groundwater use.

Project Agenda

The project’s main activities started with determining the local requirements for matchmaking and opportunities for possible solutions, then continued with identifying and selecting the appropriate solutions that are needed and supported by the local stakeholders. Matchmaking of the solution providers and the local stakeholders comes next.

Starting from May until December 2022, The Water Agency works closely with the local stakeholders in Pekalongan City and Pekalongan Regency, including Planning Agency (Bappeda), Industry and Manpower Agency (Dinperinaker), Environmental Agency (DLH), Public Works and Spatial Planning Agency (DPUPR), Cooperative and SME Trade Agency (Cooperative and SME Trade Agency), Tourism Agency (Dinparbudpora), local water company (PDAM), Kampung Batik, and batik communities.

Project timeline: May – December 2022