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 Without Groundwater, Bengkulu Residents Resort to Dirty River

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BerichtOnderwerp: Without Groundwater, Bengkulu Residents Resort to Dirty River   za 26 sep 2015 - 23:20

The Jakarta Globe, 26 Sept. 2015

Bengkulu. The continuing drought across Indonesia is forcing residents in several villages in Bengkulu to use water from a dirty river as wells have dried up.

People in Central Bengkulu district say they use river water to bathe and wash their clothes, but add the water is actually not clean enough for those purposes.

"Our wells no longer hold any water because of the dry season," said Zainal, who lives in Kembang Seri village, in Talang Empat subdistrict, adding this has been the case for over a month already.

Not every village in Central Bengkulu is connected to the PDAM tapwater services.

"So we're forced to bathe and wash with river water, which is of terrible quality and doesn't smell good," Zainal said. "Residents are forced to use dirty river water for their daily needs."

PDAM is providing people with clean water for drinking and cooking, but if they need more, they need to pay: Rp 70,000 ($4,80) for 5,000 liters of clean water.

For most people that is not an option, says Zainal, adding that people who can't afford to buy additional supplies of clean water prefer to use dirty river water over not bathing or washing at all.

Residents are calling on the local government to provide more clean water, to prevent people from falling ill due to the use of water from the Bengkulu River.

But Feri Ramli, Central Bengkulu district head, says the government is doing what it can.

"I've already instructed the Central Bengkulu PDAM to offer assistance to the people who are experiencing a clean-water crisis during this dry season," Feri said.

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