Gusti Z Anshari, dkk.

Roles of government, scientists and NPOs in the development of Indonesia Lake Vision

Oleh: Gusti Z Anshari1,2 , Haryatiningsih Moedjodo1, Andrijanto1,3 Yusuf Suharso1

1 Yayasan Danau Indonesia (YDI), Jl. Flamboyan Raya 17 Depok II Tengah, 16411 Jawa Barat, Indonesia Email:
3Faculty of Agriculture, Universitas Tanjungpura, Pontianak, Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia
Perum Jasa Tirta II (PJT-II), West Java, Indonesia



Indonesia has a lot of lakes, which are distributed from lowlands to top mountains. It is estimated that the total number of lakes in Indonesia is more than 500. Indonesian lakes are very important for community livelihoods, biodiversity protection and development, research, and environmental services. In general, most Indonesian lakes are under rapid degradation. Major threats on Indonesian lakes are water pollution, habitat destruction, species extinction, and livelihood decline that put much greater pressure on lake resources. This problem is deeply rooted in the present government policies on lake management. A rapid population growth is also associated with the decline of lake resources.

A group of stakeholders, including the government,   scientists, national and international NGOs, have paid   major concerns on developing sustainable management of   lakes. Indonesia Lake Forum and Indonesia Lake   Foundation (Yayasan Danau Indonesia, YDI) have been   established, in 2003 and 2004 respectively. In this phase,   in collaboration with ILEC, we carried out a national   workshop to disseminate the translated World Lake Vision.

The World Lake Vision has been translated into   Indonesian language by YDI in collaboration with the   Ministry of Environment through a grant from LakeNet. We   also developed a preliminary version of a database on   Indonesia lakes, identified specific problems, and   encouraged cooperative work among stakeholders that   have major concerns or authority on the development of   sustainable lake management. Stakeholder participation is   absolutely necessary in order to create an inspired vision and effective missions.

Key words: Indonesia Lake Vision Development


Indonesia has hundreds of lakes, which are   important for livelihoods, freshwater supplies,   agriculture, fishery, power generation, biodiversity,   research and environmental services. To name a   few, Indonesia famous lakes are Danau (lake)   Sentani, Danau Toba, Danau Singkarak, Danau   Maninjau, Danau Kerinci, Danau Tempe, Danau   Limboto, Danau Poso, Danau Tondano, Danau   Batur, Danau Kelimutu, Danau Sentarum, Danau   Semayang, Danau Jempang, and Danau Melinau. In   general, these lakes have important functions as   major sources of freshwater, and fishery. The beauty   of the lakes is also important to the tourism industry.   In addition, several lakes, such as Danau Tondano,   Singkarak and Maninjau, are used to generate   hydropower. In Kalimantan, floodplain lakes, such as   Danau Sentarum and Semayang, are important for   water transportation, flood control, and fish breeding.   In addition to natural lakes, Indonesia has built   several dams in order to maintain freshwater   supplies, to provide irrigation water, and to generate   power. Large dams are mainly found in Java. To   mention a few, these include Cirata, Jatiluhur, Saguling, and Sutami.

Major threats

In general, both natural lakes and dams in Indonesia  suffer from anthropogenic impacts. These include  erosion and sedimentation, pollution, eutrophication,  timber extraction in the catchment areas, land use  conversion, aquaculture and over-fishing (Table 1).  For example, the development of aquaculture has  had a strong impact on nutrient enrichment in  Saguling Dam. In 1995, the total organic sediment  from aquaculture was 1,830 tons with about 268  tons N and 122 tons P (Kartamiharja, 1995). At  Sutami Dam, the average sedimentation rate from  2000-2005 was 1.1 million m3/yr. High sedimentation  rates are also common at Lake Tondano, and this  problem has lowered the depths of the lake (Figure 1).

Figure 1.The depth of Lake Tondano, showing a decrease in 25 m from 1934 – 1996 (Source: Kumurur, 2002).

At forested lakes, for example Danau Sentarum  National Park, illegal logging has become a major  problem since 1998, after the collapse of President  Suharto’s regime. A new political condition has  created more opportunities and also less control that  drives local communities in cooperation with timber  tycoons from Malaysia to illegally cut the forest in  frontier areas. Over-fishing, poison, the use of  electric shock, aquaculture, pollution, eutrophication,  and high population pressures have also caused fish decline in many lakes.

In most cases, management plans that would  ensure the conservation and sustainable use of lake  resources are still lacking, or if it does exist, the plan  is not well implemented. In addition, poor  implementation of management plan drives lake  users to put greater pressure on lake resources.  Lake users are varied, and many have different  interests and views on how to use lake resources.  Table 2 describes an example of different interests,  roles, functions, and problems on the use of natural  resources in Danau Sentarum National Park. The  most common problem is lack of expertise, and  good cooperation and collaboration. Among government groups, cooperation and collaboration  are difficult to achieve because the authority of this  protected area is solely under the central  government (i.e. the Department of Forestry). In  general, in cases of non-protected lakes, both local  and regional governments have paid little attention  to lake management, particularly regarding the conservation of lake resources.

In practice, both protected and non-protected lakes  are barely managed by the authority. It is essential  to mention that NGOs and local communities have a  lot of worries about the sustainable use of lakes. As  a matter of facts, both NGOs and local communities do not have legal power to take care of lakes.

Although local communities have potentials to  conserve lake resources, without formal recognition  on community rights many lakes appear to be open  access (Anshari et al., 2005). As resource becomes  scarce, and local communities have lost their  institutional mechanisms to enforce the long term  view on the use of lake resources. Such condition  causes rapid destruction of many Indonesia lakes.  Due to the natures of the problem are too varied,  finding quick solution is almost mission impossible to  achieve in short term. Hence, from management  point of view, it is urgent to develop Indonesia Lake  Vision that could be nationally implemented in both natural lakes and man-made reservoirs.

Developing Indonesia Lake Vision

The development of the Indonesia Lake Vision is  based on inputs from many stakeholders. These  include local communities, NGOs, scientists and  governments. In 2003, the first national workshop on  Indonesia lake conservation was conducted in  Jakarta. This meeting was administered by the  Ministry of Environment in collaboration with NGOs  (e.g. LakeNet), and attended by 189 participants,  who came from governments, NPOs, private sector,  and scientists. The purposes of this meeting were to  build commitments on sustainable use of lake  resources, to develop Indonesia Lake Vision, and to  establish national networking on lake management.  The International Lake Environment Committee  (ILEC) presented the World Lake Vision in this  workshop. The Indonesia Lake Forum was formed in  order to accommodate the flow of communication  among stakeholders (Radiansyah et al., 2003). At  present, a yahoo mailing-list group called ‘Indolakes’  has been created and actively facilitating discussions on lake issues.

In the following year, a second workshop on  sustainable lake management was again held in  Jakarta. This meeting was sponsored by ILEC. The  number of participants, who came from  governments, NPOs, private sector, and scientists,  were more than 100 persons. Presentations came  from ILEC, Lake Laguna Development Authority,  Philippines, Lake Biwa Research Institute, Kosho  Net, The University of Shiga Prefecture in Japan,  Wetlands International, LakeNet, as well as the  Ministry of Environment, the Department of Forestry  (i.e. the Directorate General of Forest Protection and  Nature Conservation), and Indonesia Science  Institute. At the end of the workshop, all participants  agreed to a declaration on sustainable lake  management, and to commit on fulfilling the following tasks:

  1. to develop Indonesia Lake Vision,
  2. to accomplish the mission on the practice of sustainable lake management
  3. to increase capacity in the implementation of sustainable lake management schemes
  4. to develop cooperation and collaboration  among regional, national and international stakeholders

Local views on how to practice sustainable lake  management schemes were sought from relevant  stakeholders. Currently, most information is not yet  directly sourced from local communities. This occurs  because the cost of collecting first hand information  from local communities is very expensive. In many  cases, the location of lakes is quite remote.  However, views submitted by local stakeholders,  such as local governments and NPOs, are well  represented, and in line with the needs of local communities.

For local communities, lakes are important places to  live and are major sources of livelihood security.  When lakes are inhabited by local communities for  centuries, there are strong interactions between  local communities and lake ecosystems. For  example, local communities in Danau Sentarum  have built local institutions that govern the use of  lake resources according to traditional or customary  laws (Anshari et al., 2005). In many other lakes,  local stakeholders have paid great concerns on the  sustainability of lake resource uses. As the main  direct user, local communities should be given rights  to exercise community based lake management,  preferably with some assistance from governments and NPOs.

It is important to note that each lake has different  characters and specific needs. As a result, the lake  vision could not be singly developed, without full  participation of relevant stakeholders at local level.  Having realized the variety of problems on lake  management, the Indonesia Lake Forum, and  Yayasan Danau Indonesia (YDI) will focus on public  awareness campaign, capacity building, and finding  alternative income generating activities that would  help local communities to reduce human impacts on lake resources.

Concluding Remark

In the last few years, governments, NPOs, and  scientists have put more effort to address the  problems on the sustainable use of lake resources.  The role and functions of local communities in the  management of lakes are absolutely essential in  order to accomplish the missions of sustainable lake  management. More participatory access will be  availed to local communities, who are directly  dependent upon lake resources, to take part in the  development of sustainable lake management in  Indonesia. It is a great hope that the governments,  local communities, and NPOs would build strong  cooperation and collaboration in order to formulate Indonesia Lake Vision.


The authors are fully grateful to Dibjo Sartono from  Wetlands International, and Andrijanto from PJT II  (Dam Jatiluhur), who have contributed valuable  inputs to this paper. Satoru Matsumoto and Ms  Kimura from ILEC are sincerely thanked for  providing opportunity, and full financial support to  present this paper on World Lake Conference 11st in  Nairobi, Kenya, and arranging logistic and accommodation matters.


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