A village in Kupang regency, East Nusa Tenggara, has suffered from water shortages for the past 10 years because water from its only source is channeled to a nearby city.
“The Tilong Dam is located in our village. And yet, we struggle to get water, because all of it is sent to Kupang city,” said Thofilus Manhau, a resident of Oelnasi village, Kupang regency, on Thursday, as quoted by kompas.com.
Other Oelnasi residents have also complained, saying that villagers have become “mere spectators of water”, and urged action before residents become angry and violent.
Oelnasi village chief Yohanes Haeleke said residents would take direct action if the problem was not resolved by the year’s end.
Oelnasi and the dam are located 35 kilometers east of Kupang city.
The dam was inaugurated by former president Megawati Soekarnoputri 10 years ago, and had pipes specifically designed to run water to local villages, such as Oelnasi.
However, Oelnasi residents say that they were able to tap water from the pipes only for the first four to five days of the dam’s operation. No water has flowed since.
To deal with the water shortage, Oelnasi’s 2,056 residents use a number of wells but they tend to dry up between September and November.
When that happens, residents have to travel up to 2 kilometers to get water from nearby villages.
“We spend so much of our time just looking for water during the dry season,” said village resident Mama Dorkas Manhau.