"We also need to encourage reforestation efforts."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Jakarta regional government cannot guarantee that the capital city will be free from floods after the completion of the river restoration project in 2017-18, according to a minister.

"Although the project is targeted to be completed by 2017-18, there is no guarantee that Jakarta will be flood-free after that," Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto said at a press conference here on Thursday.

"None of the big cities in the world are guaranteed to be flood-free. Besides, Jakarta is below the sea level," he pointed out.

However, the Public Works Ministry and the local government have launched a program that will see the restoration of rivers, ponds and water reservoirs in Jakarta.

"The total budget for program until 2016 has been set at Rp6.9 trillion, with the goal of reducing the pool points by 67 points from a total of 78 points," Djoko stated.

The restoration program will cover 13 rivers Angke, Pasangrahan, Krukut , Ciliwung, Cipinang, Sunter, Buaran, Jati Kramat, Cakung, Sekretaris, Grogol, Cideng and Kali Baru Timur.

"Currently, the ministry is also taking part in a bidding process to obtain a loan from the World Bank in the form of Jakarta Emergency Dredging Initiative (JEDI)," Djoko said.

"The projects, among others, will involve the dredging of Cengkareng Drain, Sunter Downstream and West Flood Canal estuary, with a total budget of R1.4 trillion," he said.

On the occasion, the minister asked all stakeholders to assist the government in its efforts to prevent floods in Jakarta.

"Such efforts need concrete support, especially in the upstream sector, because we have been focusing only on the downstream sector so far," he pointed out.

Speaking about the upstream sector, Djoko also called for an end to illegal logging activities in Jakarta`s surrounding areas such as Bogor, Puncak and Cianjur, among others.

"We also need to encourage reforestation efforts, by launching programs such as the one under which a target of planting one billion trees per year was set. Programs focusing on green space management should also be launched," Djoko stated.

"However, the city's residents also need to cooperate in keeping it clean by not littering their surroundings. Otherwise, the drains will be clogged by garbage and we will again have a problem," he added.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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