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Jakarta - in danger of sinking under water in 3 years from excessive groundwater use?!

2009.03.25 Junji Hashimoto

In Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, the land is subsiding. Since 1995, the land in western Jakarta has been sinking 19cm each year, and 11-13cm each year in the central area. And it is believed that parts of the city will fall below sea level in as early as 2012.

The reason for such land subsidence is the excessive use of groundwater by companies.

Such cases of land subsidence occur all around the world. Often there is friction between companies that pump up groundwater, and local residents who are concerned about the effect this will have on the environment, and such conflict sometimes result in law suits. However, companies often win such lawsuits because groundwater is considered part of the assets that belongs to the property, and it is difficult to prove the causal association between land subsidence and excessive groundwater use.

In Japan the use of groundwater by companies has resulted in the rise in prices of tap water. Water becomes more expensive, the more you use it. So companies have begun to dig their own wells, using groundwater instead to save costs. Due to the loss of such clientele that uses large amounts of water, the revenues from water have delined , leading to higher prices. Here, too, local residents are suffering because of this unprofitability.

Rules that apply to groundwater use are becoming necessary for realizing a sustainable society.

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Indonesia (Asia/Oceania

Junji Hashimoto

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