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

Updated: Jun 9

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