Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - Lake Sentani, as the largest lake in Papua, is projected to become a future source of raw water, especially in Jayapura City and District.

The use of water from a lake, covering an area of 10,400 hectares and a depth of 75 meters above sea level, has become the main alternative after the existing water sources on Mount Cycloop began dwindling due to ongoing forest encroachment.

Head of the Papua River Regional Office (BWS), Nimbrot Rumaropen, stated that his side had prepared facilities and infrastructure to use the water in Lake Sentani as a future source for Jayapura City and District.

Since 2019, his office has built a reservoir to utilize raw water in Lake Sentani as drinking water managed by PT Air Minum Jayapura (PT AMJ) or Papua Drinking Water, formerly PDAM Jayapura.

The water from Lake Sentani cannot be used directly and must be processed to become clean water. Hence, the reservoir was built to suction the lake water.

After being stored in tanks built by BWS, Lake Sentani's water must be processed before being distributed to customers.

Currently, the water is still classified as raw water and cannot be used at this time until a water treatment plant is built to convert it to clean water. The Papua Settlement Infrastructure Center will construct the water treatment plant.

Once it is done, trials and research will be conducted on the water quality before it is distributed to customers.

The water resulting from this processing must be ensured to be fit for consumption and in accordance with health standards.

Optimal service

Director of PT Air Minum Jayapura (AMJ), Entis Sutisna, emphasized that the company will provide optimal service, considering that Lake Sentani's water discharge is quite high.

For the initial stage, his side will use one thousand cubic meters of water per second. However, this quantity has not been fully utilized because, until now, it still uses water from the Cycloop Mountains.

Currently, the managed water source still comes from the Cycloop Mountains that stretch from Jayapura District to Jayapura City.

So far, the company manages 21 water sources originating from Cycloop Mountains with varying water capacities. However, the water supply tends to decrease due to forest encroachment.

Water sources, with quite high capacities, such as at Camp Walker and Tarbonji, have experienced a decline due to factors such as forest encroachment.

As a result of forest encroachment and changes in the area's function, water levels have decreased and caused environmental damages.

"For example, areas such as Camp Walker, which were previously covered by trees, are now open due to forest encroachment," Sutisna remarked.

He expressed hope that water from Lake Sentani would become a source of clean water for the residents of Jayapura City in the future and fulfill the need for clean water.

Currently, various preparations are still being made by the parties as water providers, both the Papua River Regional Office, which has built the reservoir, and the Papua Settlement Infrastructure Center, which will build the water treatment facility.

Apart from preparing a facility to process raw water into clean water, Lake Sentani's water must be studied before being distributed to 38 thousand customers.

PT AMJ, as a company operating in the field of clean water services, stated its readiness to manage and distribute the water to residents in Jayapura City and District.

If the water from Lake Sentani could be utilized, service to customers could be maximized, and the period of water distribution could be extended, Sutisna explained.

To optimize services, the company also replaces pipes, especially used ones installed since the Dutch era.

Currently, around 60 percent of pipe connections to customers' homes are new pipes that are expected to reduce the level of leaks.

The water distributed to customers so far is not categorized as drinking water but is still clean water, so it must be boiled first before being used for drinking or cooking.

Preserve Cycloop CAP

A youth figure from Sentani, Jayapura District, Izak Hikoyabi, also urged all elements of society to protect the Cycloop Mountain Nature Reserve (CAP) from forest encroachment to maintain the source water for residents in Jayapura City and District.

The water resource has been used to fulfill community needs and is managed by the formerly known PDAM Jayapura.

Hence, the sustainability of the CAP Cycloop forest must be maintained by limiting deforestation in the area.

If forests are not jointly protected and forest encroachment continues, it is feared that natural disasters could occur in the future, such as the flash floods that struck in 2019, he stated.

The government, private sector, and community should immediately take concrete action to prevent forest destruction in the CAP Cycloop, such as by reforesting areas with a thinning tree population.

In addition, forest encroachment, regardless of the reason, must be stopped immediately.

"Let us work together to protect the area. The natural disaster that resulted in 105 deaths should not recur,” he stated.

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Translator: Evarukdijati, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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