Anak muda dari Kelompok Bambu Andaka berupaya keras menyelamatkan mata air Watonitung, satu-satunya sumber air di desa Kawalelo Kab. Flores Timur.
06 Jul 2023
Recent years, water crisis following climate change had struck Kawalelo Village in East Flores. People of the village began to figure out such insufficient was caused by reduction of water volume around their only wellspring exist.
Overcoming this crusial isue, young people who concerned about the limited availability of water in Kawalelo Village then came up with idea of forming a community named Andaka Bamboo Group. Andaka Bamboo mainly aims for restoration and maintainance to surrounding area for the needs of the residence. Initially, the young people community faced challenges, especially from the local government.
“On the occasion of the Village Development Planning Meeting (Musrenbangdes), we suggested to create a conservation program to solve the problem,” said Andaka Bamboo Secretary Hendrikus Subankola
Wellspring provides a safe water to consume as the water is natural purification processes. Watonitung wellspring of Kawalelo Village is located in Demong Pagong district, East Flores Regency, which used to provide sufficient water to the people back in ten years. Since a few years, villagers learned that its volume was getting decreased.
Water crisis in East Flores had ensued for some causes. It is situated on sandy area that is landslides highrisk in rainfall. Besides long dry season, monkeys spotted in Kawalelo jumping on the rocks to make them fall and obstruct the water. Andreas Teri Sogen works as a farmer said that Kawalelo Village was well known to be quite arid. In 1996 with the support of a Non Government Organization (NGO) they were able to get water from Bama wellspring, but the water crisis hit back the village in 2021.
“Since we have received assistance and support from Yapensel and KEHATI Foundation for conservation programme, currently the water volume is starting to improve. We will continue to maintain and preserve so that Kawalelo is no longer experience water crisis,” said Andreas.
Resident of Kawalelo Village used to buy water from a wellspring which was managed by distributors and quite far from their area. Getting double job as farmer and fisherman to cope with high costs of water. In addition to economic factors, the water crisis gave impact to their social life. Problems appeared as some residents afford to get excess water, while the others who lived on poverty line suffered from lack water for their daily needs.
Despite of the local government was initially neglectful, Andaka Bamboo took initiative to immediately made efforts to save Watonitung by cultivate kepukutan, banyan, bamboo, and cherry. From this action they learned that bamboo is the best performance than the other plants. Bamboo can grow in sandy areas and have two functions as maintaining soil structure and keeping groundwater stable. The tree absorbs a lot of water in rainy season, and then release them in the dry season.
Later, conservation focused on efforts to get bamboo saplings from outside their village which lead Andaka Bamboo called out for funds. Hendrikus Subankola revealed that during their struggle, Andaka Bamboo was then given support and assistance by Larantuka Socio Economic Development Foundation (Yaspensel) and KEHATI Foundation.
Afterward, the local goverment began to involved in conservation by providing labors and food, also participate in monitoring the growth. In second period KEHATI Foundation and Yaspensel giving 700 bamboo saplings which later distributed to the conservation area by local people who were willing to help and also a school located in Kawalelo Village.
Supervision or monitoring process were needed to ensure bamboo saplings grew well. Meanwhile, to protect the baby plants, Andaka Bamboo has planned a program. This program were to make gabions whose fuction is shield and strengthen the soil structure to prevent landslides in river areas. Gabions are made from woven wire filled with rocks.
“For this program, we hope that KEHATI and Yaspensel foundations will once again provide their supports. Regardless, is the time for local government to allocate some financial aid ,” said Hendrik.
Climate change is real that all parties should hand in hand to support all efforts throughout the country. The impact requires integral actions of local community and government for water restoration without further delay. Bamboo cultivation is the only hope for people in Kawalelo Village despite of few residents participated previous to currently Andaka Bamboo has gained assistance from majority. It is estimated that in 5-10 years the water will be stable and sufficient for all resident in Kawalelo Village.