Water is a natural resource that has many benefits to realize prosperity for the people of Indonesia. In Article 33 paragraph 3 of the 1945 Constitution, it is explained that water resources are part of natural resources controlled by the state and are used for the prosperity of the people of Indonesia. The country of Indonesia itself has abundant water availability compared to countries on the African continent, but there are still many Indonesian people who lack water and have to walk miles to get water.
Although management of water resources has been regulated in the state constitution, Indonesia’s awareness level in respecting water resources is still lacking. For this reason, it is important for the Indonesian people to know about conservation of water resources so that the availability of available water can be used optimally and maintained sustainably. The following is an explanation of the definition, purpose, and the example of conservation activities of water resources.
Definition of Conservation of Water Resources
Conservation of water resources is an effort to maintain the existence, nature, and function, as well as the sustainability of water resources so that they are always available in adequate quality and quantity to meet the needs of living things, both now and in the future.
Some of the objectives of conserving water resources are:
- Prevention of Catastrophic Floods and Droughts
Floods that often occur in Indonesia are mostly caused by rivers and waterways (drainage) that are unable to accommodate very heavy rainwater in the rainy seasons. The high rainfall is not offset by the absorption of water which causes floods of water. Water absorption is not optimal because the forest has turned into agricultural land.
Construction of buildings in water catchment areas also contributes to the absorption of water so that in the dry season there is no water stored in the soil. It is necessary to map flood-prone and drought-prone areas as an effort to overcome floods and droughts. After mapping, it must be followed by disaster management planning and preparing facilities and infrastructure to deal with floods and droughts.
- Prevention of Damage to Riverbanks
Erosion by water and bad behavior of people in disposing of garbage can cause damage to riverbanks. Damage to riverbanks will affect the availability of water resources. Therefore, conservation needs to be done to preserve river water conservation.
- Prevention of Erosion and Sedimentation
Erosion is the process of eroding the surface of the Earth caused by some natural energy, one of which is erosion by water while sedimentation is the process of soil deposition. Soil erosion and sedimentation are much influenced by water so that prevention is related to conservation or management of water resources.
Examples of Water Resources Conservation Activities
There are many activities that can be done in the conservation of water resources. These activities can be grouped into three, namely:
- Activities as a Form of Protection and Preservation of Water Resources
This activity has a focus on protecting the water supply so there is no decrease in spring discharge as well as the preservation of the environment where the water is located. This protection and preservation are intended to avoid water damage caused by natural factors and human behavior. Some activities that can be carried out include:
- Maintain rainwater catchment areas by complying with the Basic Building Coefficient regulations so that the soil’s ability to absorb water becomes better.
- Rehabilitate forests by maintaining mountainous areas so that they are covered with permanent vegetation at least 70 percent.
- Preserve protected forest areas and nature reserves.
- Manage sanitation facilities and infrastructure.
- Controlling tillage in the upstream area.
- Make criteria for the area around the spring which is a minimum of 200 meters from the spring so that the springs in the forest are maintained and clean from human activities.
- Water quality management and water pollution control activities
The purpose of water quality management and water pollution control according to Law No. 7 of 2004 is to maintain and restore water quality; both water that is already at its source and water that has just entered the soil. Some of the factors that influence this activity are water quality, the content of pollutants, and technology used to manage water quality. If water pollution is high, the technology used to process it must be more sophisticated so that the costs to be incurred are also greater. Following are some activities that can be carried out to process water quality and control water pollution.
- Plant water-saving trees around the watershed. Some types of trees that can be planted are mahogany, trembesi, bamboo, Angsana, acacia, and so on.
- Make at least one infiltration and bio pore well in each house.
- Apply terracing techniques to land in mountainous slopes.
- Build dams to accommodate and control water.
- Avoid farming in steep slopes with slopes of more than 40 percent.
- Make a mud trap in the slope area which is in the form of trenches that are built in lengths, widths, and in different ways and are parallel to the contour of the land.
- Clean the mud trap that has been made especially in the rainy season.
- Avoid exploitation of land in highland areas with an altitude of more than 1,000 m above sea level.
- Avoid farming in areas prone to erosion.
- Concrete and plant trees on the riverbank to protect riverbanks from erosion.
- Prohibit the construction of residences or other buildings on the riverbank as well as cracking down on the perpetrators.
- Eliminate the habit of throwing garbage in the river.
- Make rules and strict sanctions for people who throw garbage in the river.
- Preserving water
The purpose of water preservation activities is to maintain the quantity or availability of water. This activity is conservation based on the needs of water users. Humans as the majority of water users must be able to save as needed. This water saving will have a positive impact on the availability of water at the source. In addition, this activity is also in line with the principles of sustainable development and the principle of eco-efficiency in the utilization of natural resources. Preservation of water can be done by:
- Accommodate excessive rainwater and use it when needed.
- Save on water use, namely by using water wisely, effectively, and efficiently. This can be practiced in everyday life, for example, not opening the faucet in maximum condition if it is not holding water, always remember to turn off the tap after use and so on.
- Control groundwater use.
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