, ,

9 (Nine) Indonesia's Water Governance Articles You Should Read

Sunday, July 2, 2023

The article titled Water Quality Parameters -- Monitoring And Maintaining The Health Of Our Waterways discusses the importance of monitoring water quality parameters to maintain healthy ecosystems and ensure safe drinking water supplies. It covers key parameters such as temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, nutrients, turbidity, and contaminants. The article provides examples of how changes in these parameters can affect aquatic life and human health. For instance, urban runoff can raise water temperatures, causing thermal pollution, while agricultural runoff can lead to excessive nutrient levels, causing eutrophication and low oxygen levels. The article emphasizes the need for monitoring and regulating these parameters to protect ecosystems and public health. 

The article titled Water Sector Regulation discusses the various aspects of water services regulation. It covers topics such as the structure of the water services industry, the question of ownership and control, the role of licenses and contracts in regulation, and the unique challenges posed by the natural monopoly character of water service. The article also emphasizes the importance of specific legislation to tackle consumer problems in water services, detailing provisions on duties to supply, supply standards, and customer service. It further discusses the role of legislation in economic regulation and the need for independent, capable regulators. Lastly, the article touches on the importance of demand management and water efficiency, and the role of legislation in these areas.

  Court decision brings water governance reforms to a halt (Part 1 of 2) discusses the implications of the Indonesian Constitutional Court's decision to invalidate Law No. 7/2004 on Water Resources. The decision has caused a significant impact on the Indonesian water community, leading to the halt of several planned water projects and threatening ongoing ones. The author argues that the decision has effectively ended water governance in Indonesia, as the framework for conservation and management of water resources no longer exists. The article also highlights the potential negative effects of this decision, such as the lack of regulation for groundwater extractions, which can lead to land subsidence and saltwater intrusions, and the absence of legal basis for flood control. The author expresses concern that the court's decision could impede the fulfillment of the sustainable development goal of universal access to water and sanitation.

The ultimate risks of water privatization. This article discusses the potential risks associated with the privatization of water services, particularly when contracts are concluded with multinational corporations (MNCs). The author outlines three legal arenas that are impacted by such privatization: transnational, national, and contractual. The article argues that privatization can put the government in a legally disadvantageous position, as disputes arising from contracts can be transformed into international investment disputes through bilateral investment treaties, leading to costly international arbitrations. The author also highlights the lack of adequate accountability and responsibility standards for MNCs, which could potentially lead to irrecoverable environmental or labor losses. At the national level, the author criticizes the weak protection of the right to water in Indonesia, noting that the constitution does not explicitly recognize this right and that current regulations do not distinguish water from other infrastructure projects. The article concludes by emphasizing the need for transparency in water governance and public involvement in decision-making processes.

Can the courts concern over water privatization be justified (Part 2 of 2) This article is the second part of a discussion on the implications of the Indonesian Constitutional Court's decision to halt water governance reforms. The author delves into the concept of corporatization, a process by which a public, state-owned company behaves like a private sector entity. The article questions the court's assumption that state control over natural resources is automatically ensured when these resources are managed by state-owned companies. The author argues that this perspective overlooks the capitalist nature of corporations and the potential for state capitalism to emerge. The article also criticizes the court's decision for not addressing the risks of corporatization. The author suggests that the focus should not be on public versus private ownership, but on how the state regulates and ensures reliable and affordable services. The article concludes by proposing several potential actions for the government, such as creating implementing regulations and evaluating which provisions in the water law and its implementing regulations are problematic. 

The article titled The new governor and Jakarta's drinking water problem discusses the challenges faced by Jakarta's newly installed governor, Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, in addressing the city's drinking water issues. The article highlights the complexities of water provision, which is a natural/legal/monopoly, and the trade-off between service levels and network expansion. It also discusses the significant costs associated with expanding the network to low-income citizens. The article points out the structural disincentives in connecting to the poor due to the current governance structure of Jakarta's water services. It suggests that Jokowi should address the lack of incentives from regulatory actors in connecting to the poor, consult the poor on how they want to be connected to the network, and try to reform the existing legislation which penalizes the poor for late payments. The article emphasizes that these challenges should not discourage Jokowi from his initial plan to provide services to the poor.

Indonesia needs a strong water services law This article emphasizes the need for a robust water services law in Indonesia. The author points out that only a small portion of the population has access to piped water and that the lack of sanitation contributes to significant economic losses and health issues. The article criticizes the current water law for its vague and broad regulation of water services, which can lead to legal complications when dealing with large-scale water projects involving multinational corporations and foreign lenders. The author argues that the governance of water resources and water services should be treated differently, as they deal with distinct aspects of water management. The article also highlights the importance of a water services law in protecting consumers from service disconnection, establishing a consultation mechanism for tariff setting, setting quality standards for drinking water, and detailing consumer rights. The author concludes by stating that without a water services law, the rights of consumers and investors are not legally guaranteed and are subject to the mercy of local governments.

RI water services suffering from a lack of governance This article discusses the lack of governance in Indonesia's water services. The author notes that while funds are available for investment by the private sector, most private sector participation in the water sector is failing. The article criticizes the focus on public versus private ownership of water utilities, arguing that the real question should be about what governance mechanisms work for either public or private water utilities. The author also points out that both privatized and non-privatized services are developing without adequate governance. The article highlights the situation in Jakarta, where water services are regulated mainly through concession contracts, which do not reflect the need to incorporate post-privatization reality and do not provide clear rights for water customers. The author concludes by emphasizing the need for local governments to establish a framework for transparency, accountability, and participation through regional bylaws, especially when services are to be privatized. 

The article titled Assimilative Capacity -- Understanding Nature's Ability To Absorb Impacts discusses the concept of assimilative capacity, which refers to the ability of a natural system to absorb, process, or neutralize pollutants, waste, or disturbances without significant adverse effects. The article emphasizes the importance of understanding assimilative capacity for effective environmental policies and strategies that protect natural resources and promote sustainable development. It provides a definition of assimilative capacity and explains its importance in environmental management, including the protection of ecosystems, maintenance of ecosystem services, and promotion of sustainable resource use. The article also provides examples of assimilative capacity in different environmental systems, such as river systems, airsheds, and coastal ecosystems. These examples illustrate how managing pollutant discharges and waste production based on assimilative capacity can help protect water quality, maintain air quality, and preserve the ecological functions of coastal ecosystems.