Water expertises of the Dutch fascinates me. It has been and it always. Netherlands is a country below the sea and all children MUST learn to swim. Taking care of dikes and dams are priority number one in this country, otherwise all population sinks into the sea. This obligation forms certain mentality that are positives: discipline and strive for the best solution. You tell the Dutch your problem with water and watery areas, they always have answers.
That was my impression yesterday when I attended a symposium about water management during the Dutch Indies colonial period and post Independence Indonesia in Bronbeek. On a sunny Sunday morning and afternoon. It was worth listening.
As the Indonesian Ambassador, H.E. I Gusti A. Wesaka Puja, yesterday said that Indonesia has had its local wisdom about water management, such as Subak irigation system in Bali, far before the Europeans came to colonialize the country. It is true and Indonesians should be proud and conserve it. And Indonesia does its best to improve its water management on all levels as the Ambassador tried to convince the audience. These all are positive development.
But what about mismanagement of canals, rivers and dams so they all full of waste and lose their functions as water traffic and water resource? What about sinking cities in Java about 12 centimeter per year? What about deforestation of mangrove in North of Java? It used to be the largest mangrove habitat in the world and provide so much benefits for Indonesia but now almost dissapears and in such a poor condition. All these problems are man-made creations that actually could be avoided from the first place. So sad and so worrying.