RI govt earmarks Rp93 bln to revitalize Lake Limboto

Gorontalo (ANTARA News) - The central government has earmarked Rp93 billion in funds to revitalize Lake Limboto, the biggest lake in Gorontalo province, which is now in environmentally critical conditions, a regional environmental affairs official said.

The funds to be disbursed in 2012 would be used among other things to dredge the sediment on the lake`s bottom, creation of green belts around the lake and relocating the people who had encroached on the lake`s protected area and built settlements there, Rugaiya Biki, head of environmental affairs at Gorontalo`s Environmnent, Research and Technology Agency, said here Tuesday.

"The sediment dredging is targeted to reach a depth of 3.5 meters, while the relocation of the squatter settlements must be done carefully and tactfully because it is a task with the potential of triggering conflict," she said.

Describing the critical conditions of Lake Limboto, Rugaiya said the lake`s average depth was now only 2.5 meters and its total width had dwindled to 3,000 hectares.

In 1932, the lake`s depth was an average of 30 meters but over the years the figure had continued to drop and was recorded at only 10 meters in 1961 while its surface at the time was still 4,250 hectares.

The lake used to be a repository of the water of 23 rivers that flowed into it from northern, western and southern direction but now only one river was supplying it with water throughout the year, namely the Biyonga River.

The Biyonga River itself only had water flow area of about 68 square km.

"Lake Limboto`s degradation is also exacerbated by illegal logging and forest encroachment in the upstream area," she said.