43% of Rural Population Lack Safe Drinking Water as Total Population Hits 275.77 Million in 2022

The water crisis in Indonesia is a multifaceted problem that is caused by contaminated natural resources, climate change and population growth. Lack of access to clean water has become increasingly concerning as contested resources are being polluted from chemical fertilizer runoff, plastic wastes and other hazardous materials. Warming temperatures are expected to cause greater water scarcity due to the receding of glaciers, causing a rising sea level that can reduce the freshwater supply. To complicate matters further, population growth has strained already scarce water reserves in an already populated region. Consequently, tackling this issue is of utmost importance as availability of safe drinking water becomes a growing concern across the country.

Written by Rika Andini

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Indonesia’s natural resources, climate change, and population growth

Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world. It consists of five major islands – Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, Kalimantan, and Papua – and about 30 smaller groups. The total number of islands is estimated to be 17,508 according to the Indonesian Naval HydroOceanographic office. This archipelago is located between the Pacific and the Indian Oceans and bridges two continents, Asia and Australia. This strategic position has influenced cultural, social, political, and economic life.

Indonesia is a remarkable archipelago located in the South Eastern part of Asia that has a tropical climate. Indonesia experiences two distinct and contrasting seasons: the wet season, normally dominated by thunderstorms, monsoon rains, and powerful winds during the summer months, and the dry season with prolonged periods of sunshine during the winter months. This change isn’t only impacting Indonesia’s economy but also has a direct effect on individuals living there as well.

Hotter days can cause people to become dehydrated quicker – especially those who work outdoors or live in rural areas – while drier spells mean that people may have to pay higher prices for food due to reduced supply. Indonesia is one of the countries most susceptible to climate change because of its geographical position, so it’s important to study this phenomenon extensively along with its effects on Indonesia’s delicate environment.

Indonesian natural resources have been utilized to divide Indonesian territory into 131 river basin territories. These systems operate within 5,700 rivers across the country, with the usage of various dams and canals to monitor water operations. Each system helps Indonesian citizens in various ways, from managing water resources to tackling the challenges brought by climate change.

The total population of Indonesia will reach 275.77 million people in 2022.1 This enormous amount of people are having both positive and negative impacts on daily life in the country. On one hand, the strong labor force helps to support economic growth and development, but it also puts strain on resources including housing, jobs, health care, and public transportation and water.  As this population grows, many analysts have warned that without proper planning and management of water resources, Indonesia could face increasingly severe water and health problems related to population density.

Indonesian Economic Growth

Indonesia is one of the few countries that has experienced tremendous economic success in recent times. With its GDP growth rate of 5.72% in quarter III-2022, it is recognized as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and is expected to continue to grow even further.2

Despite impressive economic growth, Indonesia is facing a critical challenge in the form of a water crisis that could impact its future development. The urban population in Indonesia has been growing rapidly, with the capital city of Jakarta being the main contributor. The population of Jakarta is estimated to be around 10 million people, making it one of the most populous cities in the world.

This rapid growth in the urban population has had a profound effect on Indonesia’s population as a whole. According to the 2021 census, 74% of the urban population of Indonesia is located in Java, and 26% is in the urban conglomerate around Jakarta: Jabodetabek.3 The population of Indonesia is expected to continue to grow at a rapid rate, due to the country’s large young population and its fast-growing economy.

It is estimated that by 2030, Indonesia’s population could reach over 300 million people. Despite this large population, many rural communities and residents of informal settlements in urban areas struggle to make ends meet. According to data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) records for March 2022, the number of multidimensionally poor people reached 26.16 million people or covered 9.54% of Indonesia’s total population.4 This is especially true for those living in rural areas and those in informal settlements in urban areas.

Approximately 43% of Indonesia’s population still lives in rural areas where access to safe and clean drinking water is limited.5 This lack of access to clean water has a significant impact on the productivity of these individuals, as well as on the overall economy. Without reliable access to water, individuals in rural areas are often forced to spend a significant amount of time and effort collecting water or treating contaminated water, which reduces their ability to participate in other economic activities.

The total water availability in Indonesia is 690 × 109 cubic meters (m3) per year, which is a lot more than the demand of 175 × 109 m3/per year. Kalimantan and Papua, which house only 13% of the total population in Indonesia, have about 70% of the water resources. Furthermore, Kalimantan and Papua are not the main centers of economic activities like Java is. This has led to the water resources in these regions being underutilized and often mismanaged.

The lack of access to clean and safe water in these regions has further exacerbated the issue. The lack of clean, accessible water is having a devastating impact on communities and their ability to thrive economically, as well as social consequences that cannot be ignored. With an increasing population and industrialization come greater water demands, creating further pressure on diminishing resources. In order to continue its momentum in economic growth, action must be taken now to protect the country’s water resources and ensure efficient management of the supplies that remain.

The crisis of water in Indonesia is one of the more challenging environmental issues facing the nation. Population growth, urbanization, and climate change have all exacerbated the crisis, especially on remote islands, largely due to the lack of proper septic tanks. This has drastically polluted the water table, leaving many of the over 6,000 inhabited islands with brackish or undrinkable water.

With no way to properly store and treat wastewater, pollution has caused rivers and water sources to become contaminated and cause health problems for those living nearby. Hygiene is incredibly important in these areas, but without access to potable water, it can be difficult for families to stay adequately healthy in these remote regions. Indonesia has been unable to provide reliable access to clean water for many of its citizens as even groundwater sources are becoming increasingly contaminated with pollutants. To address this crisis, it is imperative that both governmental institutions and the public work together in order to develop and implement effective strategies aimed at addressing these issues head-on. In doing so, progress can be made toward providing clean water access for all of Indonesia’s citizens.

If the water crisis in Indonesia is not addressed, it could cause serious repercussions for the nation’s economy. As access to clean, safe water becomes increasingly limited, production will likely suffer from supply shortages, adding to inflationary pressures which can be devastating if not handled properly. In addition, if there is a lack of access to safe drinking water, it could lead to an increase in healthcare costs as people become more prone to ill health due to bacterial and chemical pollution. Ultimately, if Indonesia fails to address the water crisis, the country’s economic development potential could be severely hampered.

The importance of clean water


One of the most important reasons why clean water is so important is because it has a direct impact on our health, especially for school children. Without clean water, children cannot stay healthy enough to attend school regularly, thus impeding their educational development. Numerous studies have shown that exposure to contaminated water can lead to a variety of health problems, including gastrointestinal illnesses, respiratory infections, and even neurological disorders.


Another reason why clean water is so important is that it is essential for sanitation. Without clean water, it would be very difficult to keep homes and public spaces clean.For example, in health centers, the lack of clean water at health centers can put the health of other community members at risk by making centers unable to adequately sterilize equipment needed for medical treatments. Clean water is necessary for effective sanitation practices, which help to keep us healthy and prevent the spread of disease.


Clean water is also essential for agriculture. Crops need clean water to grow, and farmers need clean water to irrigate their fields. In many parts of the world, irrigation is the only way to ensure that crops receive enough water to survive during dry periods. If farmers do not have access to clean water, they may not be able to produce enough food to feed their families or sell at the market.


Finally, clean water is important for the environment. All living things need water to survive, and polluted waterways can harm plant and animal life. Additionally, when rain falls on the polluted ground, it can carry contaminants into rivers and lakes, further harming aquatic life and polluting drinking water sources.

Government Strategy

Indonesia is home to a vast array of groundwater basins, with a potential of 520 billion cubic meters of water per year. With an estimated safe yield of roughly 155 billion cubic meters per year, the wise use of water resources management strategies is an absolute must for this country. Indonesia must find ways to efficiently and operationally manage its water network to conserve precious liquid resources and maintain its sustainability in the future. Modern cutting-edge technologies have provided the opportunity for governments and citizens alike to examine their current practices, identify areas for reform and develop comprehensive strategies that can save both money and landmark conservation goals in the long run.

Carocell Technology is a solution to the lack of access to clean water in Indonesia. Carocell is a water purification technology that produces safe, high-quality drinkable water from any source including seawater, groundwater and contaminated or polluted water. Carocell Technology supplies 182,500,000 liters of drinking water in more than 30 countries every year. Carocell Technology has made a huge impact on providing clean and safe drinking water to communities.

As such, Indonesia’s water resources management strategy needs to be dynamic, adaptive, and bi-directional to maximize efficiency while also contributing towards sustainable development goals.

To keep track of the available water resources in Indonesia, river basin organizations collect and monitor a wide array of data, including rainfall amounts, river flow, and even water levels. The Indonesia water resources management strategy (Pola) and the corresponding plan (Rencana) for each river basin provide insight into the data currently available, helping to ensure that the limited natural resource is monitored efficiently. The number of river basin organizations and plans continues to expand as awareness of available water resources becomes more widespread, making it easier for all Indonesians to have access to clean, safe drinking water.

The Research Centre for Water Resources (Puslitbang Sumber Daya Air or PusAir) in Bandung, Indonesia takes great care to collect data on water balance (supply and demand). This information is integral to the country’s water resources management strategy, as it helps define sustainability goals related to equitable access to clean water and efficient use of available resources. Because of its importance, PusAir regularly reviews the data, comparing it with independent research sources and trends across different locations, to identify any new suggestions for improvement or immediate action needed for successful resource management.

Besides that,Indonesia also has The 2012 Java Water Resources Strategy Study (JWRSS) report produced in response to challenges relating to Indonesia’s water resources management. This piece of literature became a crucial publication for formulating suitable strategies for integrating water resources (both surface water and groundwater) and land management. The JWRSS aimed to provide a comprehensive overview of the current state of Indonesian water resources and outline urgent actions that need to be taken to sustainably manage Indonesia’s irreplaceable natural resources. Experts evaluated existing policies, regulations, and laws as well and suggested policy options that could increase stakeholder cooperation and create collaborations between decision-making bodies at various levels. Ultimately, this report has already provided Indonesia with an opportunity to put its best foot forward when it comes to effectively managing its invaluable natural resources -through a holistic land-water coordinated approach.

Yayasan Air Minum Bersih for Indonesia

Yayasan Air Minum Bersih is committed to achieving universal access to clean drinking water for communities in Indonesia through UN SDG 6. Since our inception, we have been focused on providing safe and clean drinking water for Indonesian schools, health centers, and remote areas that have a high demand but limited supply of potable water. We understand the importance of sanitation and integrated our WASH education program with our goal of making sure all people in Indonesia are provided with clean drinking water. Our mission is to empower communities and make sure everyone has access to this life-sustaining resource.

Air Minum Bersih has taken a significant step forward in the mission to make clean drinking water accessible to everyone. By partnering with Carocell Solar Water Indonesia, not only can they provide efficient implementation and installation of pure drinking water but also ongoing WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) education programs around sanitation and hygiene in remote schools throughout the country. Yayasan Air Minum Bersih helps the government to supply clean and safe drinking water for citizens. With this partnership, Air Minum Bersih will be able to make sure that its efforts are felt more than ever before by providing clean and safe water to even more Indonesians who need it the most. Safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene are crucial to human health and well-being. Safe WASH is not only a prerequisite to health but contributes to livelihoods, school attendance, and dignity and helps to create resilient communities living in healthy environments.

In some cases, students are forced to bring their own water from home or buy it from vendors outside of the school. This can be a financial burden for families, and it also puts students at risk of dehydration and waterborne illnesses. To help bring clean drinking water to these schools, we need to nominate schools that need water. By doing so, we can help raise awareness and bring attention to the issue, and hopefully get these schools the resources they need.


By nominating a school in need, you can bring attention to their situation and help us take action. If you know of a school in Indonesia that lacks access to clean drinking water, please let us know. Your nomination can help us provide them with a sustainable solution to this basic necessity. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of these students and improve their overall health and well-being.

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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