A Big Step Forward For Bali's Water Scarcity Advocacy

On Bali, we believe “Every day is water day” – but 2017 World Water Day was a special day for the Bali Water Protection program with water at the centre of global attention.

In celebration of World Water Day, IDEP Foundation and BWP joined panellists at Bali’s Udayana University Campus on 23 March for “Water Scarcity versus Socio-environmental Stability” – a seminar and workshop - a big day for Bali’s water scarcity debate.

Organized at the initiative of Yayasan I’m An Angel with a pool of stakeholders including IDEP, the aim of this workshop was to bring together all parties involved in saving Bali’s freshwater from depletion and pollution.

The event name highlighted how water scarcity is impacting the ecological balance of Bali, but also its social stability as conflicts over water between the population and tourism industry are increasing on the Island Of The Gods.

Strong knowledge of the water challenges faced on Bali, and of solutions, the panel of speakers agreed with one core message: “I’m with you water” - a powerful commitment to stand for water, now featured in a beautiful video.

Bali Water Protection (BWP) was represented by Gede Sugiarta - a core IDEP staff member and knowledge bearer of the aquifer recharge system - who delivered a passionate and extensive presentation highlighting how the recharge wells solution advocated by IDEP is an efficient answer to Bali’s water scarcity and water quality improvement – to be addressed also in BWP’s educational curriculum.

A big step forward for Bali

"Recharge wells will help Bali' watersheds recovery" -Gede Sughiarta, IDEP

The Bali business sector was strongly represented with increasing acknowledgement of capacities for long-lasting changes in water management throughout the province. Corporate commitment was illustrated by two BWP sponsors at the workshop: Sayan Gulino, GM of Waterbom Bali, and Maitri Fischer, CTO of Mantra Bali.

Government representatives were also present, acknowledging the need for better water policy and coordinated resources management between various agencies. Yet, it is still not certain of what concrete actions will be implemented by government, and what dedicated timelines would be associated.

A big step forward for Bali

"It's all about balance - how much we give and how much we get” - Dr. Stroma Cole

Academia had a great chance to make its voice heard with prominent researchers in the line-up of speakers - including a worldwide leader in advocating changes in the tourism industry, Dr Stroma Cole, whose 2010 research underpins the Bali Water Protection program. Dr Cole has returned to Bali to pursue her research on the theme ‘Over-tourism and Bali’s Water Woes’ - as witness to changes since her first published conclusions. Already popular, this research is much awaited at IDEP - impatient to read the upcoming results and overview of Bali Water Protection program, a solution to match the exposure of the water crisis issue.

Event attendance at speaker presentations was complemented by a workshop - mixing stakeholders in business with officials, NGOs, activists and many more to reflect on best practices and recommended actions to save Bali’s freshwater. A summary of workshop results is still being processed - and we have no doubts that it will create a new momentum for Bali water crisis mitigation with new directions for IDEP's advocacy of the solution we propose.

A big step forward for Bali

While an event of this scale cannot be held too often, we hope to see the major stakeholders gather on a regular basis to discuss progress. This is a time for action that IDEP is definitely committed to lead. Bali Water Protection program has progressed significantly and while further funding is required to start its implementation, we are extremely confident of a tentative start in July 2017.

A big step forward for Bali