Vice president calls for water conservation

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Vice President M Jusuf Kalla has called upon people to conserve water in view of the limited water resources and the increasing demand for water.

Although 75 percent of the Earth surface is constituted of water, only 0.003 percent was consumable, Kalla said here on Tuesday while opening the Indonesia Water and Wastewater Expo and Forum (IWWEF).

Water and land are two things which are limited on this planet, he remarked.

Under the current circumstances, water is a basic need. And the demand for water is also bigger in case of those who pursue a higher life style, he said.

Parts of the word are facing a water crisis due to the depleting water resources, he added.

Citing an example, he said some 300 million Indian people are currently facing a water crisis.

Kalla said the Indonesian people should be grateful because the country still has plenty of greenery.

He, however, said the country has lost some 50 million hectares of forest area over the past 50 years, meaning that water resources mush have been depleted, too.

Therefore, better water distribution and water usage efficiency have become imperative, he noted.

The government has planned to allot new water connections for 10 million households up to 2019, with a budget reaching Rp70 trillion.

Besides, the government also provides subsidies by writing off the debts of the state-owned clean water supply company, PDAM, amounting to Rp4 trillion.

"We subsidize fuel and electricity energy to a tune of almost Rp1 trillion per day. In 2010, the subsidy was more than Rp300 trillion. On the other hand, the discussions on giving subsidy to PDAM by writing off its debt amounting to Rp4 trillion had dragged on for 10 years. In fact, the amount equals to just four-day fuel subsidy," Kalla said.

He hoped that the company could provide clean water to the public in sufficient amount. (*)