How the Water Supply in Kelampuk, Indonesia Changed Lives and Offers Partnership Opportunities

by Phearak Svay

Kelampuk is in Sekadau district located in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. To reach the district, one has to take a one hour flight from Jakarta to Pontianak, and then another 45-minute flight to Sintang, followed by a one and half hour drive from there.

Map of Indonesia (Source)
Map of West Kalimantan. (Source)

World Vision Indonesia is implementing a development program in Sekadau which is co-funded by WV Indonesia’s local funding and WV Canada. The main funding source is child sponsorship. The program has been operating in the district for over seven years currently covering 12 villages in two sub-districts of Sekadau. The program benefits 8,092 households from the two sub-districts. The key focus areas are child protection, early childhood care and development, and water, sanitation and hygiene.

A 30-minute trek to the spring water source

On our field trip, we visited a community gravity-fed water supply system in Kelampuk sub-village (situated in Meragun Village) which is a two-hour drive from Sekadau followed by a 30-minute motorbike ride. The upstream spring is another 30-minute walk from the sub-village.

The construction, including household pipe construction, took World Vision and communities only three months. This was a joint effort between the local village authority, villagers and World Vision. All parties contributed resources to make this construction possible. The construction was carried out by the villagers themselves. This water supply system benefits approximately 110 people from the 22 households.

Situation before the construction

Among all sub-villages in Meragun, Kelampuk is the only sub-village that hasn’t been covered by existing water supply service. Therefore, WV Indonesia worked with local authority and villagers to fill the gap.

Before the construction of the new system, villagers used to collect water from the river snaking through the village. Water collection used to be the job of women and children. Women dared to bathe in the river only at night time; they would be concerned about being seen by strangers while bathing, which would cause them to feel embarrassed. In the past, solid waste from the household latrine was discharged into this river causing the river to be very contaminated. The village leader mentioned cases of death due to diarrhea. The story of solid waste being discharged into the river was confirmed by our conversation with one of the villagers who reported that before building his new toilet last year, he had a pit latrine without any septic tank. The solid waste from his latrine was discharged straight into the river behind his house.

Impact on households

Following the construction of the water supply system, all 22 households in Kelampuk have access to improved water source at home by just a turn of the tap. Women and children don’t have to collect water from the river anymore. As a result women have more time to care for children. Women can bathe at home in their own privacy without fear of being seen by strangers.

Water pipe running from the catchment to the village

To ensure long lasting water supply to the villagers, a village water management group has been set up. Each household pays a flat rate of 5,000 Indonesia Rupees (US$ 0.38) per month. This money will go toward maintenance and operation. The water management group is using this money to hire a maintenance person to check on the system for any defects, and hire another person to operate the system on a regular basis.

Pressure break tank distributing water to the households

Opportunities for multi-sector collaboration

The success of this project is the collaboration among World Vision, villagers and the local authority. This is an important foundation to be harnessed to further strengthen the partnership for more sustainable and impactful outcomes. What opportunities can we see out of this?

  1. When the system doesn’t belong to anyone, no one is likely to sustain it in the long run. Therefore, the current model based on voluntary contribution of time by community members to manage the system should be transformed into a community social enterprise model in which the community members still can continue to be involved but in a different operating model — one which makes good business sense and is able to fully cover all expenses while catering for future sustainability.
  2. Household water treatment was found to be receiving light touch attention. Although water is now available to households at their doorstep, water quality remains an issue to be addressed. This is a gap that the private sector can fill without World Vision having to provide its own resource.
Kelampuk community members

Do you want to work with us on this project? If yes, drop us an email and we would be happy to chat with you!