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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Thirsty downstream : the provision of clean water in Jakarta, Indonesia Argo, Teti Armiati


The challenge of water provision in third world cities is to maintain the supply in the context of inadequate and inefficient piped water infrastructure and diminishing raw resources. In order to examine the role of governance in this, I utilize a range of theoretical positions: the welfare orientation, rational choice paradigm, common goods theory and regime theory, and present them as ways to explore the subjective dimension of water provision. Using the city of Jakarta, Indonesia as a case study, this dissertation explores the issues using different perspectives on a single principal focus, the roles of the government and its relations to non-governmental actors. This research used data from secondary materials such as management reports, policy and academic reports, and scientific studies. The major source of primary data were interviews conducted with about 40 key actors. Qualitative analysis used a system of information coding and triangulation. The conclusion reached is that the approach to managing clean water provision needs to be redefined in relation to the water management regimes found in situated research. In Jakarta, one may define three regimes: piped water, surface and shallow groundwater, and deep groundwater. Accessing water from greater urban watershed, treatment plants and a "manufacturing process" results in the delivery of a product. Such a system reduces the possibility of the tragedy of the commons, that is, the over-extraction of groundwater by individuals. But a more inclusive and enforced regulatory system must be established for groundwater, as it remains a needed source of supply. Local and low-technology solutions, international agency assistance, the policies of privatization and decentralization, and better land use planning, all hold out the promise of movement towards a solution. But, as the case study demonstrates, success has so far been mixed. Many options do not address water scarcity at the city level and problems of inequitable service. It is only the prospect government reform towards a better allocation of roles, new management ideas and greater co-operation within and among the water regimes that will lead to better provision of clean water.

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