While Bali is one of the world’s favourite tropical escapes, the island is in the midst of a serious water crisis. To combat the negative effects of tourism on the island, the EXO Foundation is an advocate of Bali Water Protection Program. BWP is a program working to ensure secure and sustainable access to clean freshwater through wide scale education and the production of freshwater recharge wells. Bali has been blessed for centuries with an abundant resource of water and thus agriculture (rich volcanic soils and bountiful freshwater in large portions of the province), along with, until very recently, an exceptional sustainable management of its water resources by Balinese population and the Subaks organizations responsible for the island’s rice irrigation.
Today 60% of Bali’s watersheds are declared dried
The province’s increasing demography in residents and tourists (3.8 Million residents for 2.7 Million tourists in 2011) coupled with changes of life-styles, the building of private villa-type houses and increasing numbers of hotels with swimming pools and high water-consuming bathing fixtures, have greatly augmented the demand for in-house piped water to the point where in the last few years the demand for freshwater is superior to the available current sources.
- A tourist consumes about 150-200 liters per day against 30-50 liters for a local.
- The sector of tourism alone was estimated in 2010 to be using 65% of Bali’s water resources.
- Agriculture is at risk as freshwater is diverted toward tourism
Then the water is increasingly contaminated by unregulated trash disposal & excessive chemicals in agriculture. Numerous wells in Bali are running dry or contain foul water. The Bali chapter of the Environmental Impact Management Agency found in 2006 that twenty one rivers had pollution levels ranging from minus 30 to minus 70, with 0 considered a safe level, both due to domestic and industrial waste.
Facing the issue the IDEP Foundation and Politeknik Negeri university researched to tackle the problem and found solutions. They have drawn a 6 year plan backed by Bali’s Governing authorities:
- Start by building 136 recharge wells in critical areas thanks to Gravity-fed Freshwater Recharge Wells which provide a low tech, cost-effective solution to rapidly increasing fresh water availability
- Widespread Public awareness program including among others schools program in 132 schools