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Running out of Water, Bali is In Crisis

Bali, the well-known paradise, is facing a looming water crisis.  Researchers have reported the water aquifers are at 20% or even less and it is said that there could be an ecological crisis by the year 2020 if there is no reversal in this situation.  The reason for the crisis is that the result of the mass tourism and development to cater to this industry.

Water crisis in Bali

Low tide on one of Bali’s beach. Picture credit: Garden of Life

The Bali Water Protection Program (BWP) has been created in order to ensure the restoration of the aquifers before things reach the point of an emergency crisis.  This is a program that will need all hands on deck.  The community and all sectors of industry will need to become involved if the water crisis is to be averted.  An assessment has been carried out of rapid recharge systems for aquifers with Bali in mind.  The demands being made include the following:

  • The avoidance of having saltwater introduced into the fresh water aquifers – this occurs when an aquifer is over exploited. Saltwater leaks into the ground water and once that happens it cannot be reversed.  Reliance will have to be on desalination plants which are very expensive.
  • Making sure that water that has been diverted from agriculture to tourism precincts is reversed so as not to threaten Bali’s food security.
  • Protection of UNESCO world-heritage rice fields – water has been diverted from the rice fields leading to water wars with farmers trying to steal water from each other.
  • Protection of the traditional culture of the Balinese
  • Increased quality of life

In areas like Phuket where tourism development is unchecked, local agriculture has been eliminated completely and now the islanders must import water for their consumption from the mainland in the dry season.

Fortunately, research organizations and academics in Bali have refused to wait any more and are now insisting that the BWP be supported in order to ensure that the looming crisis is averted.  The pilot program is to be implemented at the cost of 1 million US dollars.  The aquifer recharge model has already been used successfully in parts of India that have been drought-stricken.  Rapid results are expected as well as a successful restoration of the water levels within three to five years in those areas where there is a fresh-water crisis or where salt water threatens to contaminate the fresh water.

Water crisis in Bali

Bali’s rice terrace. Photo credit: Garden of Life

How Can You Help?

Garden of life is committed to creating positive environment impact for Bali, one of which is by trying to shift the tourism industry into more sustainable one so that we are not destroying nature any further. It doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg to donate and start this big project, rather, it only takes a little kindness and efforts. Please help us preserves Bali in anyway possible.


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