Flood Prevention Project Planned to Begin in March
As Jakarta recovers from its worst flooding in six years, the World Bank says it plans to start a project to alleviate the city’s vulnerability to waters rising in its canals and waterways as soon as March.
The Jakarta Urgent Flood Mitigation Project, which will be spearheaded by the central government, is designed to rehabilitate the city’s waterway system by dredging channels and retention basins, and repairing embankments throughout the city.
The project is currently in a planning and procurement stage after funds were made available to the government last August by the World Bank in the form of $140 million in loans.
Civil works are planned to get underway in either late March or early April. The project was initially expected to have started in May 2012, according to the bank’s website.
The flooding in 2007 had an impact on more than 2.6 million people, and led to estimated financial and economic losses of $900 million.
Fook Chuan Eng, a senior water and sanitation specialist for the World Bank, said that simulations of the 2007 flood showed it could have been avoided if the existing system was operating at its original intended capacity and that 1 million people or about 40 percent, would have been spared involvement.
“Hydraulic modeling studies have concluded that the most immediate beneficial response for flood mitigation in Jakarta is to take steps to return the system to its original design,” he said.
Benefits from the project — which is expected to cost a total of $190 million, including Indonesia’s commitment of $50 million — will be seen over the next two years. This is the time it will take to dredge 67.5 kilometers of key channel systems and four retention basins, as well as repair 42 kilometers of embankments.
The funds loaned by the World Bank will be used by the Ministry of Public Works to coordinate two of its own agencies, as well as the Jakarta city government to complete the project.
Eng said that around 57 urban villages inhabited by 1.8 million people located near the project sites would experience less flooding after the project’s completion.
He said approximately 5,300 people in these areas may need to be resettled due to the project. No involuntary resettlement has taken place, but this could occur in the future if it is “unavoidable,” Eng said.
An urban planning expert says that while the JUFMP is a good start it will not be enough to completely resolve Jakarta’s flooding problems.
“The dredging and rehabilitation of rivers, canals and basins, the main component of the Jakarta Urgent Flood Mitigation Project, are only able to mitigate impacts of flooding,” said Deden Rukmana, an associate professor of urban studies and planning at Savannah State University in the United States, who has a blog on Jakarta’s urban planning.
“It will be effective if complemented with other efforts,” he said.