A recent study on the water supply in Jakarta noted that “Jakarta’s population includes a significant number that live in wretched, unsanitary conditions with no access to clean water services. In these conditions people are forced to choose either to draw water from heavily polluted rivers, contaminated and often saline aquifers, or when no mains water is available, purchase it from private pushcart vendors at the price of US 0.15 per 20-liter jerry can or US $7.50 per m3, which is more than 70 times the price of mains water if it were available.” (Fournier, Folliasson, Martin et al., 2013).
Water from the Jatiluhur Reservoir is not safe to consume, and its consumption has led to multiple incidents of waterborne disease. “The water flows through agricultural fields to reach Jakarta via a 33 km open canal. Along the way, some water is drawn illegally by farmers for irrigation use and water is also contaminated from people defecating into the canal and from rudimentary toilets that pour untreated waste into the canal. By the time the water reaches Jakarta, it is of poor quality.” (Ibid.)
One of the primary concerns among development experts and the United Nations is the commodification of water. All people are water-dependent irrespective of income. Yet, billions of global citizens are deprived of safe and adequate water consumption due to water-pricing schemes that are a violation of fundamental human rights. As climate change intensifies and the population in developing countries grows, the alarming rate of water insecurity will increase dramatically.