Indonesia: Indonesia's water resources policy reform process (#175)
Indonesia’s water and irrigation sectors face complex investment and management challenges, which, if not addressed, threaten its economic development, food security and public health. Indonesia has recognised the need for reform, and, over the past four years, the country’s 30-year old water resources law has been amended to:
- enhance integrated water resources management (IWRM) to achieve sustainable resource use,
- manage water in all aspects -- social, ecological and economic,
- achieve a balance between conservation and water use,
- decentralize the management of water resources,
- assure the basic right of water for all people, and
- make future policy in a democratic way.
The reformed bill adopts many aspects of IWRM, and will guide a future with roles in water development and conservation for both the public and private sectors. The new law covers water quantity and quality for both surface and groundwater in river basins and environmentally and socially sensitive swamplands.
- The involvement of as many stakeholders as possible is a critical step in formulating new laws and regulations. As part of the democratization of public policy making, it is possible to widely discuss draft bills and their regulations at public consultation meetings throughout a country.
- Public consultations can be ineffective, with issues being re-discussed in consecutive rounds of consultations without reaching a solution. Difficulties may arise because of poor preparation, limited agenda, poor stakeholder identification, poor timing, poor documentation, weak facilitators. A comprehensive and structured process, eliciting opinions from the widest possible range of stakeholders in an organised and professional way, and using a competent facilitator, would help ensure success. This could significantly shorten repetitive and lengthy series of discussions and a long lag time between drafting and passing the bill.
- There is a need to build awareness of the principles of IWRM among decision-makers and stakeholders, including NGOs to ensure that all parties are arguing from a common base.
- An IWRM plan is required at national, provincial and river basin levels to make implementation of the new water resources policy effective and sustainable. The strategy and action plan should map the road towards completion of the framework for water resources management and development and related infrastructural measures. A portfolio of actions should be among the outputs.
Importance of case for IWRM
IWRM provides a generic framework for new water resources policies. This case shows how four key elements of IWRM – its integrated nature, its emphasis on sustainability, its recognition of water as a valuable resource, and its insistence on participation – can be internalized into a nation’s legal, regulatory, institutional, financial, organisational, and administrative instruments for water resources management and development.