Indonesia: Jakarta

Penjaringan is one of the most historic areas of Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta. As a coastal area, Penjaringan Sub-district in North Jakarta is constantly suffering from flooding because of high tides. Muara Angke, which is in a part of Penjaringan known as Pluit, is among those most at risk of facing tidal floods. ‘Muara Angke’ in Indonesian means the mouth of the River Angke. It is widely known for its port and the fishery sector (i.e. fishing, processing, trading) is the main livelihood for community living there.

The community is now facing new challenges in predicting tidal floods because of climate change. The global sea level rise has also increased the frequency of tidal floods in Muara Angke during the last five years. Even without flooding, the rising water level affects everything. The community has to deal with water 20 centimeters deep that clogs up the roads when floods occur. Tidal floods have caused damage to infrastructure, financial loss, scarcity of clean water, and they have also reduced the quality of sanitation within the area. This year tidal floods were not only caused by high tide cycle, but also resulted from a burst dike.

The Muara Angke area is also prone to flash floods because of river overflows. The worst flooding occurred in two consecutive years (2012 and 2013) which forced 4,466 households to evacuate from the area. After experiencing such devastating floods, the government has continued to reduce both flash floods and the risk of tidal flood through series of plans, including settlement relocation, drainage improvement, and dike construction.

Infrastructure construction

Raising the road level

The roads have been elevated by up to 1 meter to prevent saltwater flooding. The government has also fixed the road between the Muara Angke, Muara Karang and Pluit areas which often becamse flooded during high tides. The bridge that connects Muara Karang and Pluit to Muara Angke is also being widened and raised by up to 7 meters. Indeed, it is not enough to change one piece of infrastructure; everything else needs to be changed.

The roads have been elevated by up to 1 meter to prevent saltwater flooding.

The drainage system within the area is not performing well because it clogged up with trash. This has caused the seawater to flood houses and roads easily during the high tide cycle. According to the Head of Jakarta’s Public Works Department, when he was interviewed by The New York Times, it is estimated that only 20 percent of the city’s sewerage worked properly. The rest were clogged up with trash, debris and utility cables. In response to that, Jakarta Provincial Government, through the public works agency, has improved the drainage system since 2014.

Improving the drainage system and normalizing the river 

The River Angke and Pluit reservoir are also being normalized to maximize their capacity to collect water. Flooding in the Pluit administrative area is the result of the river having not yet been widened or their banks not raised. Besides that, the river’s cleanness is still a problem that is faced by the community. Over the long term, trash and domestic waste that has piled up along the river has caused sedimentation. The government is also dredging the river in order to increase the depth by removing sedimentation that has built up over years.

Relocating resdients from the Adem and Pluit riverbanks has also been carried out to accelerate normalization of the rivers in the capital. The relocation program started in 2013 and ended in 2015, there are approximately 12,000 – 16,000 households which were relocated to low-cost flats that were provided by the government.

Dike construction and water pump installation

Jakarta Province Government, through the water resources agency, has added water pumps in flood prone areas, as well as constructing new dikes, and rebuilding the old ones to mitigate flooding. Some pump houses located in Muara Angke are very effective in reducing water runoffs and preventing roads getting clogged because of flooding.

 Northern parts of the city completely rely on pumps as they are below sea level. Photo credit:

Besides that, the government has also developed a long term plan for reducing flood risk through seawall construction. This has been done along the northern part of Jakarta Bay and aims to protect the city from the sea level rise. This plan is included in the National Capital Integrated Coastal Development (NCICD), a project to build a beach wall to prevent the worsening floods in Jakarta. Currently, more than half of the construction targets have been met. The progress included the 1,317 meters wall in the Muara Baru area in North Jakarta, and the construction of a 1,372 meters wall in the Kali Baru area, also in North Jakarta.

Beyond just infrastructure

Orange troops cleans the sewer from bundles of trash and large volumes of sediment that was clogging the bottom of the sewer. Photo credit: metro news

In 2015, the Governor of Jakarta signed Regional Regulation No.6/2012 pertaining to the city’s long term plan 2005 – 2025 which mentioned Penjaringan Sub-district as one of the flood prone areas that needs to be supported. The Governor also signed Governmental Regulation No. 15/2017 which mentioned the Jakarta Flood Contingency Plan 2017 as the main guideline for flood risk management. In line with this regulation, Pluit developed a flood contingency plan which aimed to mobilize and coordinate resources better when disasters occur. The Governor has also instructed all government agencies to take part on reducing flood risks in Jakarta.

Jakarta Province, together with Regional Disaster Management Agency, has developed zone mapping that is based on flood data from recent years. The output of zone mapping is available to the public through a web site at The web site not only provides information about flood-prone areas, but also combines data to map the location of flooding in real time. Through accurate and up-to-date information about floods, the community and government can prepare themselves better to deal with floods.

A community awareness forum in the Pluit area has been formed to identify risks and hazards within their neighborhood. The forum aims to inform the government and community about the challenges they are facing so that they can then find possible solutions in advance. The number of people joining such forums can be differ according to the size of administrative area. In Pluit, the forum consists of 21 people who represent each community group.

The Public Facility Maintenance Agency, known for its ‘Orange Troops’, was established in 2015. The Agency is responsible for maintaining public facilities, including parks and waterways in Jakarta. Its workers―the‘Orange Troops’―have received a lot of praise and compliments for their remarkable performance in maintaining the capital's public facilities. The community in Pluit said that usually they only rely on waste collectors, but, since 2015, the orange –clad worlershave helped them clean the clogged sewers and collect trash from the river to prevent flooding.

Efforts by Jakarta Provincial Government to reduce the risk of flash flooding and tidal floods has decreased the intensity of flooding in the Muara Angke area. Even though this has not completely eliminated the overall risk, these efforts have helped the community to better cope with the different kinds of flood. Indeed, it needs commitment from a range of actors to continue working together in reducing flood risk and building resilience.

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