Jakarta. Construction of Raknamo Reservoir in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, has reached 98 percent completion, the Ministry of Public Works and Housing said in a statement on Tuesday (28/11).
The project is among 65 new reservoirs President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's seeks to build across the country as part of a plan to improve national self-sufficiency in water supplies and food production.
East Nusa Tenggara is known for its extremely dry climate, which often results in water shortages, although some areas in the province receive sufficient rainfall during the year. With only 9.6 percent of the province covered in forests and the remainder being savanna, it is essential for the government to build more reservoirs to ensure a steady water supply.
The East Nusa Tenggara chapter of the Development Planning Board (Bappeda) said last year that the province has always had to rely on bringing in food from other parts of Indonesia to support the local population.
"A big reservoir is urgently needed in East Nusa Tenggara and President Jokowi has ordered me to build many reservoirs there, from small- to large-scale ones. During the dry season, some small reservoirs even run dry," Public Works Minister Basuki Hadimuljono said.
"Besides stabilizing the water supply, they can also become new tourism attractions," he added.
President Jokowi is expected to inaugurate Raknamo Reservoir next month, when it will be filled up.
"We plan to have the ceremony with President Jokowi on Dec. 20, as it coincides with the anniversary of East Nusa Tenggara," Minister Basuki said.
The reservoir will have a capacity to supply 100 liters of water per second for irrigation of to more than 1,250 hectares of agriculture land in Naibonat subdistrict. It will also double as a flood-management mechanism, while it has the potential to support a micro-hydropower plant producing up to 0.22 megawatts of electricity.
The Rp 710 billion ($49.7 million) project is one of seven planned reservoirs in the province. The others are Rotiklot in Belu and Napun Gete in Sikka, which are both still under construction, while the remainder, Temef in Central South Timor, Kolhua and Tefmo in Kupang and Lambo in Nagekeo, are still in the planning process.