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River Basin Management in Indonesia through Collaborative Action

Gregor van Essen – The Water Agency (left), Cora van Nieuwenhuizen – Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management (middle), and Emil Elestianto Dardak – Vice Governor of East Java (right)

​During the State Visit in Surabaya, a seminar with the topic of River Basin Management was held on the 12th March 2020 in Sheraton Hotel. In this precious occasion, both the Indonesia Government and the partners from the Netherlands discussed in-depth about the issues of the water sector in Indonesia, especially the issues in the Welang River in East Java, some of which are diapers waste, dead fish from industrial waste, domestic waste being thrown directly to the river, and no clear regulation on what institution collect certain waste and where to process the waste.

Attending the seminar from Indonesia side were East Java BAPPEDA, Water Resources Agencies of East Java Province, and Jasa Tirta I Corporation and from the Dutch were Living Labs Water, Witteveen + Bos, Wetlands International, Royal HaskoningDHV, IHE Delft, Wageningen University & Research, and The Water Agency.

In this opportunity, the managing director of The Water Agency, Gregor van Essen had the chance to introduce Healthy River Challenge, a capacity building program focusing on the collaborative coalition of Indonesian and Dutch partners (government, private sector, and knowledge institutes).

The Netherlands Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, Cora Van Nieuwenhuizen also encouraged actions and collaboration in working together to solve the issues in the rivers. She also added that polluted river is an enemy of our own making and that we need to make room for the water.

Pressing issues were also explained by the Vice Governor of East Java, Emil Elestianto Dardak. He stated the importance of flood control and water management to ensure water availability during the dry season. Another issue was about the sedimentation in Welang River and the idea to apply the best technology available.

Through the seminar, it is clear that the multi-year collaborative action between Indonesia and the Netherlands is needed to tackle the issue in Welang River and open an opportunity to greater collaboration in Indonesia.