80% of PDAMs in Indonesia in a State of Critical Condition

How Air Minum Bersih is contributing to positive change by addressing the PDAM crisis in remote villages and schools across Indonesia

Written by Rika Andini

What is a PDAM?

PDAMs, also known as Perusahaan Daerah Air Minum, are a vital part of Indonesia’s water supply infrastructure. These state-owned enterprises are responsible for providing clean and safe drinking water to millions of Indonesians across the archipelago. The introduction of PDAMs has revolutionized the way water is distributed and managed in the country, ensuring access to this essential resource for all citizens. With the growing population and increasing urbanization in Indonesia, the importance of PDAMs cannot be overstated.

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The Evolution of PDAMs and Their Impact

The concept of PDAMs was first introduced in the 1970s as a response to the need for organized and efficient water supply systems. Prior to the establishment of PDAMs, water distribution was often unreliable and unregulated, leading to widespread waterborne diseases and inadequate access to clean water. The introduction of PDAMs brought about a significant improvement in the quality and accessibility of water, transforming the lives of millions of Indonesians.[1]

Roles and Responsibilities of PDAMs

PDAMs operate under the supervision of local governments and are funded through a combination of government subsidies, user fees, and investments. They are responsible for various tasks, including sourcing water from natural resources such as rivers or groundwater, treating and purifying the water to meet safety standards, and distributing it to consumers through an extensive network of pipelines. PDAMs also play a crucial role in managing wastewater and ensuring its safe disposal.

Advantages of PDAMs

One of the key advantages of PDAMs is their ability to provide affordable and reliable water supply services to both urban and rural areas. They strive to ensure that even remote communities have access to clean drinking water, contributing to improved sanitation and overall public health. PDAMs also play a significant role in promoting sustainable water management practices, including conservation and efficient use of water resources.


Challenges faced by PDAMs in Indonesia

PDAMs have a vital responsibility in ensuring access to clean and safe water for the population in Indonesia. However, the current state of PDAMs in the country is alarming, with a staggering 80% of them facing critical challenges. This critical condition is attributed to several factors. Firstly, technical issues such as aging infrastructure, poor maintenance, and outdated technology contribute to the inadequate performance of PDAMs. Secondly, institutional problems, including weak governance, lack of transparency, and limited accountability, further exacerbate the situation. Thirdly, issues related to water sources, such as overexploitation, pollution, and unsustainable management, strain the capacity of PDAMs to deliver quality water services. Lastly, problems with the implementation of Law No: 22 of 2000 concerning Regional Autonomy have also impacted the effectiveness and efficiency of PDAM.[1]

Aging infrastructure and inadequate maintenance

One of the major challenges is the lack of infrastructure and outdated technology. Many PDAMs are operating with aging water treatment plants and distribution networks that are unable to meet the increasing demands of the growing population. This not only hampers their ability to provide sufficient water supply but also affects the quality of the water being supplied. To overcome this challenge, PDAMs need significant investments in infrastructure and modernization of their systems.

Water scarcity

Another challenge faced by PDAMs in Indonesia is the issue of water scarcity. With increasing urbanization and industrialization, the demand for water has skyrocketed, leading to water shortages in many regions. This scarcity is further exacerbated by climate change and deforestation, which disrupt natural water cycles and reduce water availability. PDAMs are struggling to meet the water needs of the population, especially in areas where access to clean water is already limited. To address this challenge, PDAMs need to implement efficient water management strategies, such as rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge, and water conservation programs.

Financial constraints

Furthermore, financial constraints pose a significant challenge for PDAMs in Indonesia. Many PDAMs operate on limited budgets, making it difficult for them to invest in infrastructure upgrades and maintenance. This results in inadequate service delivery and unreliable water supply for the population. PDAMs need sufficient funding from the government and other sources to improve their operations and ensure sustainable water supply. In addition, there is a need for better financial management practices within PDAMs to optimize resource allocation and revenue generation.

Governance and Accountability

Lastly, governance and accountability issues hinder the effective functioning of PDAMs. Corruption, lack of transparency, and political interference often impede the decision-making process and compromise the efficiency of PDAMs. These challenges not only affect the overall performance of PDAMs but also erode public trust in the water supply system. To address this, there is a need for stronger governance and regulatory frameworks, along with increased transparency and accountability measures within PDAMs.


Factors contributing to the critical condition

Several factors have contributed to the critical condition of PDAMs in Indonesia. Firstly The poor performance of PDAMs is mainly attributed to technical problems such as aging infrastructure, poor maintenance, and obsolete technology. Most of the water distribution systems in Indonesia were built during the colonial era and have not been upgraded since then. As a result, many pipes are leaking, and water losses are high.


Moreover, PDAMs have limited capacity to repair and rehabilitate their infrastructure due to financial constraints. Outdated technology also hinders the efficiency of PDAMs in managing water resources. The lack of modern water treatment facilities and advanced metering systems results in poor quality water supply, inaccurate billing, and high operating costs.


The institutional problems faced by PDAMs in Indonesia are also a significant factor that contributes to their critical condition. Weak governance, limited accountability, and lack of transparency are some of the issues that hamper PDAMs’ performance. Most of the PDAMs in Indonesia are owned and managed by regional governments, which lack the technical expertise and financial resources to run them efficiently. As a result, corruption, nepotism, and ineffective management practices are prevalent in many PDAMs. Limited accountability also leads to low performance standards, and there is a lack of transparency in the decision-making processes.


The third factor impacting the critical condition of PDAMs is water source issues. Overexploitation, pollution, and unsustainable management of water resources are affecting the availability and quality of water supply. Many regions in Indonesia are experiencing water scarcity, and the competition for water resources is increasing among different sectors, including agriculture, industry, and households. As a result, PDAMs are facing challenges with meeting the water demand, especially during the dry season. Moreover, water pollution is also a significant concern, and most PDAMs do not have adequate treatment facilities to remove pollutants.


The implementation of Law No: 22 of 2000 concerning Regional Autonomy has also impacted the effectiveness and efficiency of PDAMs. This law grants regional governments the authority to manage and control PDAMs within their respective regions. However, this has led to fragmentation and inconsistent regulations, which affect the performance of PDAMs. Moreover, the lack of coordination among different agencies and stakeholders has resulted in overlapping responsibilities and confusion regarding roles and responsibilities.

The Impact of PDAM Critical Condition on the Population

The PDAM critical condition is something that cannot be ignored, and its impact on the population is truly alarming. PDAM, or Perusahaan Daerah Air Minum, is a state-owned company responsible for providing clean water to the public. However, due to various factors such as population growth, climate change, and inadequate infrastructure, PDAM is facing a critical condition that is affecting the lives of the people it serves.

Lack of Access to Clean Water:

The lack of access to clean water is one of the major impacts of the critical condition of PDAM condition on the population. Clean water is a basic necessity for every individual, yet many are deprived of this essential resource. Without access to clean water, people are forced to drink contaminated water, leading to various health issues. Waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and diarrhea have become rampant, causing a significant increase in hospital admissions and even deaths.

Daily Activities and Hygiene Practices:

Furthermore, the lack of clean water also affects daily activities such as cooking and hygiene practices. People have to ration their water, leading to unclean living conditions and improper sanitation. This further exacerbates the spread of diseases and jeopardizes the overall well-being of the population. Imagine not being able to wash your hands properly or cook a nutritious meal because there is not enough clean water available.

Economic Burden:

Moreover, the critical condition of PDAM has a significant impact on the environment. The overexploitation of ground and surface water resources has led to a significant depletion of water reserves. Moreover, water pollution has increased, leading to a loss of aquatic biodiversity and environmental degradation. People who rely on these water sources also suffer as they are exposed to toxic chemicals and pollutants, which further exacerbate health issues.

Environmental Consequences:

The lack of access to clean water is one of the major impacts of the critical condition of PDAM condition on the population. Clean water is a basic necessity for every individual, yet many are deprived of this essential resource. Without access to clean water, people are forced to drink contaminated water, leading to various health issues. Waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and diarrhea have become rampant, causing a significant increase in hospital admissions and even deaths.

Implications for Vulnerable Populations:

Finally, the lack of access to clean water has significant implications for vulnerable populations, such as women and girls. Without access to clean water, women and girls are often responsible for collecting water, which can take hours and put them at risk of physical injury or assault. This takes away from their time that could be spent on education and other pursuits, further entrenching gender inequality.

The Role of Air Minum Bersih in Addressing the PDAM Crisis

Air Minum Bersih is dedicated to providing sustainable and affordable access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities for communities in need. Their success lies in their innovative approach, effective management practices, and engagement with local communities. Through the utilization of advanced water filtration and purification technologies, Air Minum Bersih has been able to supply clean and affordable water to areas that lack access to local PDAMs.


Education plays a vital role in Air Minum Bersih’s mission. They believe that creating lasting change requires educating communities about the significance of clean water and hygienic sanitation practices. By collaborating with local communities, they develop programs, workshops, and training sessions that promote healthy hygiene habits and encourage sustainable water management.


Air Minum Bersih is deeply committed to addressing the critical issue of clean water and sanitation in remote villages and schools across Indonesia. They recognize the adverse effects of inadequate water and sanitation facilities, especially in underserved regions. Their efforts are concentrated on neglected areas, aiming to bring positive change and enhance the quality of life for the affected communities. Through their initiatives, they provide clean drinking water to remote villages, ensuring a safe and reliable water supply.


Additionally, they actively collaborate with schools to tackle the lack of clean water and sanitation facilities, recognizing the importance of creating a healthy environment conducive to students’ education and well-being. Air Minum Bersih’s dedication to reaching marginalized communities showcases their commitment to making a meaningful difference and contributing to a sustainable and equitable future.


For Mariasa and his family, life in Karangasem, Bali, presented significant challenges due to the absence of clean water and proper bathroom facilities on their ancestral land. However, with the support of skilled plumbing professionals, along with the help of their friends and family from the local village and the collaboration of Air Minum Bersih, their situation has undergone a remarkable transformation.


Now, Mariasa and his family enjoy the privilege of having fresh water flowing into their home, providing a clean and reliable water source. They also have a functional bathroom, greatly improving their daily lives and overall well-being. This accomplishment exemplifies the positive impact that collective efforts, community support, and organizations like Air Minum Bersih can have on improving the lives of individuals and families in need.


In collaboration with KITA BISA, Air Minum Bersih has initiated a joint project to address the pressing issue of inadequate sanitation facilities in schools. The partnership focuses on renovating toilets in 12 selected schools within the region. Inadequate sanitation not only poses health risks but also hampers students’ well-being and their ability to concentrate on their education.


Through the renovation of these toilets, Air Minum Bersih and KITA BISA aim to create safe and hygienic environments for students, promoting better health and supporting their educational journey. This collaborative effort highlights the importance of organizations coming together to tackle significant societal challenges and make a positive impact on the lives of students and their communities.



The efforts of Air Minum Bersih have been instrumental in providing solutions to Indonesia’s water and sanitation crisis. By utilizing advanced filtration and purification technologies, they have enabled communities like Karangasem to access clean drinking water. Through their innovative approaches and effective management practices- coupled with the collaboration of local non-profits like KITA BISA – they have introduced sustainable programs that are helping to promote positive change.


With continuing support from individuals and organizations, Air Minum Bersih will be able to expand its mission even further – bringing vital resources to those who need them most. If you would like to join in supporting Air Minum Bersih’s cause, consider making a generous donation today! With your help, we can put an end to the PDAM crisis in Indonesia once for all.

Tirta Murni Nusantara

Jalan Penestanan, Sayan,

Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, 80571

+ 62 821 4645 0217


AHU-0020799.AH.01.04 Tahun 2022

Berita Negara No 080 Tahun 2022

Akta Notaris
no 09, 30 September 2022

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