Lenny Tristia Tambun
The Jakarta administration has allocated Rp 583 billion ($59.8 million) this year to acquire land on the banks of the city’s rivers as part of an effort to restore water flow and prevent flooding.
Ery Basworo, head of the Jakarta Public Works Office, said on Friday that most of the money would go toward freeing up land along the city’s two biggest waterways, the Pesanggrahan and the Ciliwung Rivers.
Acquisition of land along each of these rivers, he said, would be budgeted at Rp 208.2 billion, with another Rp 108.2 billion for land near the Sunter River and Rp 58.2 billion for the Angke River.
“Restoring the water flow in these four rivers is a fundamental step in the city’s flood mitigation efforts,” Ery said. “The truth is that there’s a lot to do in this regard, from dredging the rivers and cracking down on illegal riverbank settlements, to widening the rivers and other related programs.”
He added that the allocation represented a fifth of the Jakarta Public Works Office’s total budget for this year, and would likely be repeated over the next two years.
Ery said the amount that the city expected to pay for the land from both illegal squatters and certified landowners would be based on an independent appraisal.
“If the amount that we’ve allocated is not enough to free up all the land that we need, then we’ll have to continue the program the following year,” he said.
Overcrowded riverbank settlements have been blamed for constricting the flow of rivers in the city, leading to flooding.