Saturday, October 21, 2017

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Batam: Solving issues in water shortage

Due to ongoing business discussion, I have left out names of the parties involved and certain details that can impact business decisions.

I got a rare chance to tag along with this water company (referred to as the company) to Batam to evaluate the water issues facing a holiday resort and a couple of nearby villages. This is not your typical urban resort as it is located faraway from the island's centre.

  1. The resort was concerned about the (in)adequacies of its current water storage and treatment set-up. Though nothing adverse has happened (yet), it decided to pre-empt any problems by engaging the company to check out its set-up anyway.
  2. 2 small villages on different islands. 1 with about 20+ residents, the other with about 80+ residents. No water issues for most part of the year except when the drought comes in. This drought can last for 3-4 months, enough to run the springs and wells dry.
  3. One pre-survey suggestion thrown up was the use of rainwater harvesting. We also evaluated the feasibility of implementing RWH there.
I will not present the proposed solutions here as they are still undergoing business discussion. Instead, I will highlight some of the interesting observations during our survey.

A couple of personal observations: Perhaps due to the nature of the company's business, grey water recycling/use and sanitation were not considered as part of the solution, though in my opinion, these can be relevant factors to close the water usage loop.

Figure: Partially covered spring serving the resort's water needs. I just thought that it ought to be better covered to prevent animals from accessing it.

Figure: Water from the spring is pumped uphill to be stored in these tanks. Notice 1 line allows water to enter the tanks, the other line to transfer the water to the resort downhill by gravity.

Figure: Closer view of the water tanks. The larger ones have a capacity of about 1000L each.

Figure: Typical well serving the villages. There are several of these. Typically not covered. Clarity ranges from clear to slightly turbid

Figure: Washing and bathing using the more turbid water. Clear water is reserved for drinking.

Figure: the watering hole providing turbid water for non-potable purposes

Figure: Perhaps the villages are not as poor as what we initially thought. Common sight of solar panels and TV antennae

Figure: Nothing to do with water issues, just too nice to leave out. The sea at dawn

Figure: If there is one thing I learned, it is the importance of geography to water issues. Climate, topography, vegetation, geology affect the quantity and quality of water. View from the highest point of 1 of the islands.