Australian Water Association fosters collaboration between the Indonesian and Australian water sectors at Ozwater’17 

Posted 19 June 2017
Indonesian delegation at Ozwater'17
 With support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) funded Indonesia Infrastructure Initiative (IndII) program, the Australian Water Association hosted an Indonesian delegation of 8 water professionals from various government departments and PDAMs (Indonesian regional water utility companies). The purpose of their visit was to learn from the experiences of Australia’s water reform journey, specifically enabling private sector participation and the institutional and regulatory reforms to enable this in addition to urban water issues such as asset management, supply demand planning and efficient treatment technologies.

The delegation was led by Mr Jim Coucouvinis, Technical Director Water & Sanitation at Indonesia Infrastructure Initiative (IndII) who provided a chair and key note address during the international stream about insights into the Indonesian water sector. Jim spoke of how Indonesia is experiencing challenges through the current tariff structure and financing models associated with the 360 Municipal or District PDAMs that exist and the challenges of secure safe water supplies in a changing climate.

The challenge for water management in Indonesia

Although Indonesia enjoys 21 percent of the total freshwater available in the Asia-Pacific region, many of the country’s water security issues are tied to its rapid development, poor urban infrastructure, and stretched institutional capacity (World Bank 2015). Economic growth has not been accompanied by a corresponding expansion of infrastructure and institutional capacity. As a result, nearly one out of two Indonesians lacks access to safe water and more than 70 percent of the nation’s 220 million people rely on potentially contaminated sources (WHO 2013). The country also has undergone significant land-use changes, and deforestation and extractive industries have polluted and altered the landscape, and left many areas more vulnerable to extreme events such as monsoon floods.
The enormous challenge of environmental degradation directly feeds into many of Indonesia’s water security problems. Vulnerability to extreme events and continued pollution of water supplies pose the greatest challenges. Furthermore, policy responsibilities are fragmented between different Ministries. Since decentralisation was introduced in Indonesia in 2001 local governments (or PDAM’s) have gained responsibility for water supply and sanitation. However, this has so far not translated into an improvement of access or service quality, mainly because devolution of responsibilities has not been followed by adequate funding and capacity building to carry out this responsibility. 

Strengthening the relationship

Working with PERPAMSI, the Associations Memorandum of Understanding partner and peak water association of Indonesia, and the Government of Indonesia, the Association are now developing a program of work to support:

International stream at Ozwater'17
  • Twinning between Australian and Indonesia water utilities (often referred to as water operator partnership)
  • Empowering women of water in Australian and Indonesia
  • Support for the 13th INDO WATER 2017 Expo & Forum at the Jakarta Convention Centre from 12 -14 July, where The Association and ANZ Bank will provide a key note presentation on Private Sector Participation in water as part of the Indonesia Water Forum


The purpose of the Associations program in Indonesia is to raise the profile of the Australian water sector and to create opportunities for our members. If you would like to get involved in the Association’s activities in Indonesia please contact the Association’s International team. The Association also encourages your participation at the 13th INDO WATER 2017 Expo & Forum, please contact the Association’s International team if you would like business introductions arranged.