Can the Sinking City of Jakarta Be Saved After All?

Can the Sinking City of Jakarta Be Saved After All?

Slowly but surely, the northern part of Jakarta has been sinking for a while. And instead of treating the source of the problem, the climate changes, people keep fixing the damage done by the water. Thousands of houses sunken, with the ugly image of abandonment, littered water surfaces, and emptiness. 

Solutions Over the Years

In fact, in the past decade, there has been some futile attempt to prevent this megacity from sinking. Huge walls, almost twenty kilometers of the sea are surrounding Jakarta Bay. In addition, river banks have a sort of reinforcements, too. However, none of it brought any success to keeping the northern part of Jakarta dry.

The most affected places are the coastline places where the sunken ground is almost 4 meters underwater. The walls around the Bay are the only things protecting it from a complete disaster. 

The Truth Behind it All

This decades-long problem is completely neglected by the government, and mainly because the most struck parts are the “poor parts” of this city. In fact, they see migration as the sole solution.

Apart from the walls, there have been a few attempts to solve this major environmental problem in Jakarta. The government has built a canal network, dams, pumping stations, but nothing helped. Another of the major problems brought about by climate change in Jakarta is lack of drinking water. 

The sinking of Jakarta led to various problems, and one of them is polluted drinking water. More than 40 percent of inhabited areas in Jakarta do not even have piped water service, and the main natural sources of freshwater are polluted. This has led to people pumping out the groundwater which further increased subsidence. 

In the Recent Years

Additionally, the renovation of clogged reservoirs and flood canals helped, but only for a short period of time. There were also potential solutions by the National Capital Integrated Coastal Development including the relocation of people which was unimaginable, building defenses onshore which failed, and some offshore solutions that brought no success. 

The overall problems still remained, to drain the area, prevent city from total sinking, and all of it by regulating the enormous overuse of water. Also, groundwater levels would need to be recharged in order to restore the pressure deep underground and prevent further sinking. 

Even if these solutions worked before in other parts of the world, no project similar in size to Jakarta has ever happened. Then, the cleaning of rivers and managing human waste would have to be taken care of, however, half a million people still cannot access sanitation, and the waste is being dumped straight into the water. 

Some say that there are two possible solutions: to close the bay with walls or don’t close it at all. No one knows if it will come to any of these measures, of it they would help. It all depends on what will further happen with the land, the water levels, and other environmental problems.