Actions by Donors to Improve Sanitation

Sanitation is a gargantuan challenge in Jakarta. The major problem pertains to improper
wastewater disposal and treatment leading to contamination of groundwater. This entails high opportunity costs in terms of lost output per capita owing to health-related consequences (health care, productivity losses and premature death).

Unfortunately, sanitation has never been a priority for the government when compared with other social sectors like education and health, despite the serious threats it poses. This is evident from the low priority the government accords it in its budget allocations, despite having the goal of achieving 100% coverage by 2019. Despite ongoing financial and technical assistance provided by several donor agencies, the investment gap required to achieve sanitation for all households by 2019 is still significant. The two policy alternatives of trying to address this challenge entail a) a long term approach involving expanding the city’s sewerage network, and b) enforcing a regulatory regime to ensure that there is proper and regular desludging of on-site septic tanks along with setting up of additional wastewater/sludge treatment plants.

Based on extensive discussions with various stakeholders and an economic cost benefit analysis of the two policy alternatives, we recommend that the Jakarta government considers enacting regulations on the regular desludging of on-site septic tanks. The off-site sewerage network can continue on its expansion with ongoing external support from JICA and the Indonesian government. Donor interventions through investment
loans along with the provision of technical expertise to the government will help to strengthen the capacity of the existing wastewater/sludge treatment plants. Once the regulations are in place, the donors can provide further financial support to the city government in building of a new STP to increase medium term treatment capacity which will be required when desludging becomes a regular practice.

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