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Jakarta governor to control weather with rocket
Publication Date : 23-01-2013
In a somewhat desperate enterprise to ease flooding in Jakarta, Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo appears to have opted for weather engineering technology to divert the intense rains.
“I have sent a letter to the Agency for Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) to move the clouds to the north [the sea],” he told reporters at City Hall yesterday.
Subsequently, the governor became unusually reticent, declining to expand on his new plans for the city.
Modifying the weather, according to meteorology and geophysics expert Armi Susandi from Bandung Institute of Technology, can be done by using hygroscopic substances to encourage clouds to form.
“It can be achieved by means of a small rocket,” he said.
“It will require a very thorough analysis to seed clouds north of the city. Most likely the rain will fall in Jakarta instead of the sea, unless they do it at night,” Armi told The Jakarta Post, adding that he doubted such an effort would succeed.
“What we need is a seawall to hold back the water in the north. We also need reservoirs in the north and a deep tunnel,” he said. “We must try everything.”
During a meeting with Jakarta Legislative Council leaders on yesterday, Jokowi insisted that his administration had a long-term solution the perennial problem.
The solution includes normalising 13 rivers that cross Jakarta, building a floodway, digging innumerable percolation pits, installing pumps in North Jakarta and building a multipurpose deep tunnel.
Jokowi acknowledged that flooding in Jakarta was not an easy problem to handle.
“Flooding is a very complicated issue. The Dutch had plans to build 300 dams and lakes, but there are only 30 in existence today. Peat swamps, forests [in North Jakarta] and green areas are now housing complexes, malls and suchlike. You want to demolish them? You can’t. They have permits,” he said.
There is little room for manoeuvre. Jokowi can do nothing but be more strict with builders and planners.
“That is the importance of tightening permit issuance and supervising implementation in the field. Without that, everything will be just the same,” he said.
Heavy rains pounded the city for days last week and caused flooding in most areas in the capital.
More high-intensity rainfall is forecast until March.
To remove the post-flood garbage, Sanitation Agency chief Unu Nurdin has sent over 500 workers each day to clean affected roads, riverbanks and buildings.
“The agency, in cooperation with the TNI [Indonesian Military], has deployed workers since the evacuations last week. They have been helping the evacuees by providing public toilets and garbage bags,” Unu told the Post. “The workers will continue their labours to help citizens in the post-deluge cleanup operations.”
He said that the agency also dispatched over 750 garbage trucks to transport refuse to the Bantar Gebang landfill in Bekasi.