Clean Water in West Papua for Health Improvement

The Importance of Clean Water in West Papua

Access to clean water in West Papua has become a big problem for years. It is more challenging for people who live in remote areas. The government is unable to reach out to their location and provide clean water.

The people in rural areas of West Papua mostly rely on natural wells and rivers to get their water supply. However, it is not hygienic. Sanitation in West Papua is another issue that haunts the provincial government.

These natural water sources are often incubated with bacteria and germs. If these people consume this water, it can cause serious health problems. Unfortunately, these people do not have a better option.

Proofs of Inadequate Clean Water Supply in West Papua

Clean Water in West Papua Will Have a Good Impact

West Papua is one of the least populated provinces in Indonesia. However, its small population also has the right to enjoy clean water in West Papua today.

Every person requires clean drinking water to survive. Of course, there are requirements for clean drinking water sources. [1]

  • The first water and sanitation policy is to put drinking water sources a minimum of 10 meters away from the waste disposal area.
  • The second one is to run through pumping wells, protected wells, taps, and also protected springs. An open water spring that is close to waste disposal is out of the question.
  • Also, the water should be clear, tasteless, and odorless.

Currently, the people in West Papua rely on various sources of water.

According to BPS, In 2021 the Province of Papua, which consists of 29 regencies/cities, has a population of 4.3 people and a total of 797,604 households, while the number of customers for the Clean/Drinking Water Company (PAM) for the household group recorded as many as 65,195 subscribers. It means that there are around 8.17 percent of households in

Papua Province, which gets clean water services from PAM. Regarding area coverage, not all regencies/cities in Papua Province can enjoy clean water services from PAM. Eight out of 29 districts, or 27.59 percent of districts in Papua Province, have received clean water services from PAM. While this service has not touched the rest. [2]

These numbers show the majority of people in West Papua do not have access to clean and safe water. Healthcare facilities also report difficulties in surviving this condition.

These facilities must provide clean and safe drinking water to their patients. During the dry season, it is more difficult to get drinking water. As a result, these health facilities have to reduce their.

When it is difficult to obtain drinking water, then people will limit themselves from using water.  It means there will be limited to no water supply for washing hands, bath, and cleansing after defecating.

It has become common to find people eating with their hands without washing them first.

Efforts to Provide Clean Water in West Papua

Efforts to Provide Clean Water in West Papua

Bad hygiene and poor water quality can cause health issue that leads to death. Adults may survive the sickness, but it can be different for babies.

The local authorities and the citizens have made several attempts to obtain access to clean water, such as:

  1. The provincial government has built clean water and sanitation Indonesia with reservoirs and water channels. People can easily get their supply of clean water. However, the facility has become a victim of local vandalism. Someone cut the water lines and leave it unable to work properly.
  2. There is also another effort from the government to bring a new source of clean water.  The government built several water management installations (IPA) in rural areas. Each one of these facilities can provide water for up to 500 people.
  3. Other than the IPA, the government also built rainwater storage to catch and store water for the dry season. 
  4. There are also volunteers and donations helping to build protected wells. [3] Although these wells are cheap yet sturdy and last for decades, building more of them throughout West Papua still takes time.

Access to clean water in West Papua is not as easy as it sounds. The constant efforts from the government, local authorities, and volunteers will keep on helping these people.