Indonesia Placeholder

Rehabilitation of mountain springs

About the Implementing organization

Name: East Bali Poverty Project (EBPP)

Country: Indonesia

Year of establishment: 1998

Type of organization: Community-based association or organization / Legally recognized non-profit status / Indigenous group or organization


Despite being in a rain shadow, the village receives annually from 2,000mm at the 1,000m contour to 1,500mm lower down the mountain which is concentrated into a short 3-4-month wet season between November and March. Its impact on water supply and agriculture is severely restricted by its intensity, the very steep slopes and the highly porous nature of the very sandy volcanic soils that occur over much of the region. There are no flowing rivers or streams on the mountain and spring water is vital for survival. The sand is derived mainly from the cataclysmic 1963 Mount Agung eruption which blanketed most of Desa Ban and blocked most of the natural springs thathad provided the isolated hamlets with their daily water supplies. The EBPP team investigated the spring potential at the project outset and the eyes of the springs were cut back until new eyes were uncovered. Specially designed spring boxes with bamboo cement covers 8 - 10m long were built by the team to harness, store and distribute the spring water through polyethylene pipes to strategically located reservoirs to serve the nearby hamlets. The systems were designed for a life expectancy of 30+ years and water quality was ensured by regular tests for E.Coli bacteria using the portable DelAgua testing kit and educating communities to ensure all vessels used to carry and/or consume water were clean. The system, built with village labour and maintained by the villagers has been replicated in other hamlets within Desa Ban.

Nature Element

Forests / Mountains / Drylands

Type of Action

Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use / Access and benefit sharing / Awareness and education

Sustainable Development Element

Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Water security / Health

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s)


Environmental Impacts

The environmental impact of the spring rehabilitation program has been substantial. First and foremost, it has provided the local mountain communities with a clean and reliable source of water that, in many cases is delivered directly to their homes. Second, the program has resulted in the re-establishment of the natural vegetative protective barrier surrounding the springs and, through selective planting of vetiver grass and bamboo and has ensured that the springs are protected from erosion and land slips. Third, the base flow of the springs has been significantly increased from irregular trickles prior to development and protection. For example, flow at the Forest Daya Spring was measured at 2 l/min prior to cutting back into the steep ash and sand slope and increasing the outlets from one to three. With the opening up of the outlets, some 78,000l/min (1.3m3/s) was obtained at the Forest Daya Spring in the rainy season reducing to 45,000 l/min (0.75m3/s) in the dry season.

Sustainable Development Impacts

The main sustainable development impact of the spring rehabilitation program has been the provision of a long-term (sustainable) clean water supply for the villagers that is a cornerstone for improving the daily lives and health of the families. The secure provision of water is integral to the EBPP's health care, hygiene and sanitation programs including the overriding importance of thorough hand washing with soap after defecation in the purpose-built toilets designed by the project. The village reservoirs that store the spring water provide 120 l/family/day based on WHO standards of minimum clean/safe water for an average family of four for drinking, cooking and bathing. A 1.5m concrete slab with surface hardener was built around the reservoirs to allow the people to use the area for laundry and bathing. An unexpected benefit was nutrients (P and S mainly) from the soapy water run-off that resulted in the establishment of a fruit tree circle (banana, papaya) around the reservoirs.


The EBPP’s work is currently focused mainly in Desa Ban on the northeast slopes of the volcano Mount Agung and adjacent Mount Abang in Bali but the philosophy and principles under-pinning all the activities and programs are relevant throughout rural Indonesia but especially in the remote volcanic mountain regions of Java, Sumatra and the islands in the volcanic arc of eastern Indonesia. The EBPP team through its work with vetiver grass and The Vetiver Network International has helped develop anti-erosion and slope stability initiatives in other parts of Indonesia including Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan and Lombok. All the EBPP programs and initiatives stated with small pilot projects which were then scaled up to larger projects covering the whole Desa and are capable of being expanded to cover larger areas where the alleviation of poverty is still a major concern.


The EBPP programs and initiatives were designed as model and holistic projects for sustainable community driven and owned poverty alleviation and can be replicated throughout rural Indonesia especially in the remoter volcanic mountain regions of the archipelago where lack of basic infrastructure, endemic poverty and major health and nutrition issues are prevalent. The underlying philosophy of total community involvement based on the peoples' aspirations (bottom-up) planning rather than the “business-as-usual" top-down imposition of development programs can be replicated throughout the country, starting in a small way to establish the paradigm and gradually expanding to cover more and more areas.

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