World Bank supports Indonesian Water Law

28 March, 2011 | Source: Jakarta Post

The World Bank will begin the second phase of a program supporting the Indonesian government’s efforts to strengthen water and food security through managing water resources better.

 

The Water Resources and Irrigation Sector Management program is expected to directly impact over 500,000 farming households in 100 districts across 14 provinces.

With greater water security, farmers can produce more, earn more and play a part in securing Indonesia’s food supply. To achieve this heightened food security, however, the farmers themselves must play a role in managing local water resources. Indonesian law now stipulates that farmers, district governments and other stakeholders should all participate in managing water resources and the irrigation sector.

“Farmers are typically members of small water-user associations. But once these small groups band together under larger federations with up to 2,000 members, they gain a higher bargaining position with traders and supermarkets and also gain better access to finance,” Paul van Hofwegen, World Bank Senior Water Resources Specialist for Indonesia, said in a release received by The Jakarta Post on Monday (28/3).

“In return, these federations need to work together with government agencies on the operations and upkeep of their local water resources. This would include joint planning on water allocation and distribution, repairs and canal cleaning,” he added.

Water-user associations and federations are one of the byproducts of the World Bank’s first phase program in water resources and irrigation sector management, which began in 2003. To date, there are over 1,000 water-user association federations covering over 800,000 hectares of irrigated areas.

The first phase of the program was designed to help put Indonesia’s 2004 Water Law into action, a law which emphasizes decentralization, democracy and transparency. To this end, World Bank support has led to the formation of national and provincial councils to help coordinate among stakeholders in the area of basin water resource management.

Phase two of this program will focus on improving capacity for basin water resource and irrigation management, as well as boosting agricultural productivity in irrigated areas. It will be financed by a $150 million loan approved by the World Bank’s executive board on March 22, 2011.

“Through improved agricultural productivity and water security, the project contributes to economic growth, poverty reduction and food security. Food security is still a concern for the Indonesian government, and the irrigation systems included under the program are the backbone of
Indonesia′s staple food supply,” says Stefan Koeberle, World Bank Country Director for Indonesia.

The second phase will entail a series of training exercises at district, provincial and central government levels and physical repairs at certain facilities, including the Jatiluhur irrigation system in West Java.

 

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