Challenges and Opportunities to Improve Domestic Water Fulfillment in Indonesia: a Case Study of Kota Metro, Lampung Province.


Sugiyono (The University of Kitakyushu, Environmental Bureau of Metro City, Lampung Province, Indonesia)


In 2015 WHO and UNICEF published a report assessing MDGs target achievement, especially in sanitation and drinking water sector, among participating countries. Globally, many countries had achieved their target while some African countries were still struggling to manage this sector. Indonesia is stated as a country that successfully met its target on drinking water sector and had a good progress on sanitation sector. Then, this data was followed by the report of the Central Bureau of Statistics (2017) stating that 81.71% of households in Indonesia has already have access to clean water. Beyond this good progress, the way people get access to clean water should not be simply overlooked. It was recorded that only 10.37% of households having access to clean water are public water service’s subscriber while the other rely very much on individual groundwater exploitation. This is actually an alarming situation considering the negative impacts of excessive groundwater exploitation such as water shortage, land subsidence, seawater intrusion and other water-related disasters.

Furthermore, the tendency of people shifting their preference from public service into other choices of water sources has occurred since several years ago. It was noted that tap water (representing public service) tend to go down from 2000 to 2016. Meanwhile, individual groundwater is fluctuating and bottled water consumption significantly goes up during this period. Indeed, many arguments can be developed to explain this situation. One of reasons to explain this situation is rapid population growth implicating on high increasing demand that cannot be anticipated by water service providers. This situation is worsened by a wide disparity in the distribution of population density that makes this sector seems economically unbeneficial from the perspective of economy of scale. From political perspective, the issue of domestic water service improvement is rarely articulated and is considered unpopular.

Aside from many challenges to be managed, there are potentials that have not been optimally utilized to improve domestic water service in Indonesia. The first potential is the abundance of the water source availability. Since Indonesia is located in tropical climate zone, annual rainfall rate is high. Unfortunately, the rainwater is poorly managed and has not been utilized to fulfill domestic water source. Not only that, many studies show that the available water source is actually sufficient and even exceed the estimated minimum water requirement for daily living. The second potential is political support from the government by issuing development plan and program for acceleration. Lastly, community engagement also plays an important role even though it is frequently overlooked. The value of togetherness and co-working that traditionally exists in Indonesia is supposed to be maintained and to be utilized optimally.

Challenges and opportunities do not only exist at national level but also at local level particularly since the beginning of decentralization era in 1998. Nevertheless, local governments have limitations especially in terms of financial capacity and technological advancement. A preliminary research on consumer’s preference related to domestic water fulfillment was conducted. This research explores the reason why people choose a certain water source from the customer’s perspective. This is an alternative solution to overcome the problems that is not covered by technical rational approach. The result shows that individual exploitation is closely related to reliable quantity and easy access, bottled water (commercial) is closely related with good quality and public water service is closely related to affordable price. This finding can be used as a consideration to improve recent condition of public water service or to formulate other projects to reduce individual exploitation.