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Water Scarcity and Access to Safe Drinking Water in Balik Bukit, Songan Village, Kintamani, Bali

Updated: Jun 9, 2021

The view of Mount Batur and Songan Village from Balik Bukit Area

On average, a tourist in Bali staying at a 4 to the 5-star hotel will consume around 300 liters of water per day. In comparison, the people of Songan village, Kintamani (North Bali), have no choice but to use less than 30 liters a day. That is one-tenth of the tourists. To them, freshwater is not something you can get just by turning on the tap. For three months every year, they depend on the rain for water storage, farming for income, and saving on their water expenses. Most of the village has a rainwater storage “tank” built within their homes. And when dry season hits, this too tends to run dry.

The condition of Rain Water Reservoir in most of Balik Bukit families' houses

Songan is, unfortunately, one of those areas critically affected by the low availability of water. As the rainy season comes to a close, they’re forced back into poverty, spending large sums of their income on water. In Songan, dry season means traveling 8km to the nearest source of water and being charged Rp.150,000 per hour to collect water for your family. The charge starts as soon as you turn the tap on and continues regardless of a leaky pipe. Within one area of the village, we are aware of, there are around 400 families, so it is not guaranteed that a family will have the tap for more than one hour every few days, as they are required to stay within a rotation system with everyone else. This water scarcity problem itself has been taking a lot of these families' time and effort, which is affecting the way they treat the water before they drink it.

Ibu Dewi and her daughter Nita, taking the rainwater from the tank for daily consumption.

Upon collecting this water, families still must boil the water to rid it of any harmful bacterias. This adds another set of problems on top. Firstly, 80% of people in Songan do not boil their drinking water and will only boil it for tea or coffee. Not all families are educated on how to correctly boil the water to successfully avoid any waterborne diseases. According to the Ministry of Health, 60% of the families that boil their water do not boil it enough to kill harmful bacteria and parasites that contribute to more than 10% of child mortality in Indonesia. Secondly, a family now not only has to spend their money on water, but on the gas, it takes to boil that water on a stove. Lastly, those families who do not even have a stove will have to spend their time collecting firewood instead. Clean water is a human right and every day the people of Songan are gambling with their health to stay alive.

Ibu Dewi boils the rainwater in her kitchen.

Natural Water Filter for All

The families of Songan are not only in need of access to water, but they also need safe access to water, and they need this to be a solution that saves time and expenses. Kerja Bakti and Terra Water have come together for Songan Water Project, a multi-phase project to support the families in the Songan Village with low-resource and therefore easy to use, affordable, and most importantly culturally appropriate solutions to help her and her family gain access to safe drinking water!

Terra Ceramic Filter in the making process

Ceramic filters have been scientifically proven for over 40 years to drastically reduce child mortality due to dirty drinking water. They work by catching pathogens in the microscopic pores and then kill them using the antimicrobial colloidal silver. Terra Water filters are 100% natural, made locally in Bali, and require no energy, fuel, or electricity in order to turn dirty water into safe drinking water.

“We believe that ceramic water filters are one of the best ways to get safe drinking water into the homes of Indonesians. That’s why we collaborate with Terra Water, to do research on this technology and to help raise awareness of the product throughout the country.”- CERAMIC BASED CREATIVE INDUSTRY (BTIKK), NATIONAL AGENCY FOR ASSESSMENT AND APPLICATION OF TECHNOLOGY (BPPT) INDONESIA

Terra Ceramic Series water filter

Terra filter purifies water from rivers, streams, wells, lakes, and the rain. It is made of three main ingredients that provide the following important functions:

Clay: Clay creates microscopic pores within the walls of the filter unit that catch contaminants such as bacteria and parasites.

Carbon: Areas inside the filter wall activate as carbon and remove bad smell, taste, and the look of dirty water.

Colloidal Silver: Colloidal Silver is a bactericide used worldwide to purify water and has no side effects. It helps to “kill” the bacteria and parasites.

Material layers inside the Terra Water Filter

1 Terra Water Filter could save a family up to 7,3 million rupiahs in 2 years, provide families an additional 5 extra hours a day, time that can be spent on economic or educational activities, also reduce 30.4 kg of CO2 emissions due to boiling water from the environment, over time significantly reducing climate change and deforestation.

Terra Team was demonstrating the Terra Water Filter to the recipients

When we showed them how to use a Terra Water Filter, families were excited over the fact that just by pouring their green-colored water into the ceramic pot, they were able to immediately turn on the tap and drink straight from the source.

100 Water Filters for 100 Families

Terra Water and Kerja Bakti have collected Rp 40,000,000 (USD 2,800) through crowdfunding in March, the month of World Water Day. The fund is used to donate 100 Terra Water Filters to 100 families in need. When we got there, everybody was so excited to see the water filters. They were waiting in the small building, it’s the Farmer’s Community Hub. Along with the filter distribution, within 2 days, Terra Water provides Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Training for all 100 recipients. We divided them into 4 groups consisting of 25 recipients each. Most of them were the men in the family, there were also some women along with their children.

Terra Team was explaining about good drinking water and how it's affecting our lives

We educate on good water, sanitation, and hygiene practices to promote healthy lifestyles because studies indicate children from healthy families are more likely to have better economic opportunities as adults. It was so fun to have discussions with them about their daily water, sanitation, and hygiene activities, they were just being so open and humorous!

Now I know that there is a bacteria called E.coli bacteria that could make us sick from our water.” - Ibu Dewi, a filter recipient.

Bali Soap, Bali Life, and Green School's Bio Busses were supporting the campaign!

Along with the water filter donation, we got help from other companies such as Bali Soap who have donated 200 bars of soap and 200 bottles of hand sanitizers to support the WASH activities within the families. While Bali Life was donating some food packages such as rice, oil, and eggs as we know the COVID-19 has affected them economically that lowering their buying power. Also on the distribution day, Bio Bus from Green School Bali projects was helping on carrying all the water filters and donations from Terra Water factory in Denpasar to Songan Village. We have never expected that we will receive so much support for the project, and now we realize Terra Water and Kerja Bakti are not alone in this. Safe drinking water is a basic human right that everyone should have and give support in.

“The taste of the water is just like packaged mineral water. Everyone in the family likes it and we bring the water to the farm. We are now healthier with Terra Water Filter” - Ibu Ketut Lasmini

Everybody was happily received all of the supports from us.


Future Plan

Songan Village is just a small example of safe drinking water that is not accessible to families in Indonesia. Despite incredible progress in recent years, there are still over 27 million Indonesian without proper access to safe drinking water. This solvable problem causes diarrheal diseases which account for 10% of all deaths among children under the age of 5. That’s 410 children per day.

Tya Nilsen (Founder of Kerja Bakti & Miss Indonesia 2017) together with Kendal Village Farmers Community at the Farmers Hub

Safe drinking water is crucial, yet in Indonesia, it is hard to come by. To meet this basic need, some people in Indonesia buy water in plastic bottles, while others spend hours gathering firewood or other fuel sources to boil their water every day. Neither methods are sustainable. Urban Indonesian families could spend up to Rp. 7,000,000 (US$500) in two years only for buying drinking water in gallons. At the same time, women and children in rural or peri-urban areas in Indonesia are often responsible for fetching fuel to boil water.

Terra Water and Kerja Bakti are aiming to reach more families by providing water filters for access to safe drinking water. A bigger crowdfunding campaign will be held this year. Stay tuned to our website and social media for future updates! Fill in the survey to help us with our bigger crowdfunding campaign here.

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Nathen Fitchen
Nathen Fitchen
Jul 07, 2021

I got to see first hand the problems locals in this area were having. Providing water filters that are durable and long lasting is a thorough way to create impact. I also know about the state of water here in Bali, so I am for sure going to upgrade to a Terra filter too!


Johan Aris Haiva
Johan Aris Haiva
Jun 04, 2021

Amazing work guys!

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