Bali, the tropical island of Indonesia, had wooed audiences with their pristine beauty for years now. But the beautiful island is facing a crisis. As tourism soared on the island of Bali, it is now facing water shortage and experiencing near-drought situations. The rivers have started to dry up and are affecting the lives of the locals in Indonesia, not just Bali alone. According to several reports, water has been diverted to the south region for tourism purposes, but it is not helping the people. It is putting a strain on the relations between the locals and the hospitality industry.
Bali has been a hotspot for tourism in the past few years. It attracts visitors from all around the globe throughout the year. With a need to accommodate more and more tourists new hotels, resorts have come up who are now offering facilities like infinity pools, sprawling gardens, and building more infrastructure. The usage of water on a daily basis has gone up and is now affecting the overall water levels on the island. As reported in Al Jazeera, Bali has shared water resources through an irrigation system. It is traditionally called “Subak” in which water is diverted from channel to rice fields. The rice fields are being affected by the decreasing water levels.
The paddy rice fields, which are also frequented by a lot of tourists, have started to dry up because there is not enough water. Many of these paddy fields have begun disappearing. According to an NGO called IDEP Foundation, almost 65% of the water is utilised only for tourist purpose. On average, tourist uses between 2,000 and 4,000 litres (528 – 1,057 gallons) of water a day, as per local charity member Vibeke Lengkong.
This massive inflow of tourists and the demand for water has depleted the groundwater of the region, and the situation is only getting worse by the day. Also delayed rainfall is another reason why the water levels are decreasing. Rains have been pretty late this year, and a lot of villagers are facing the brunt of climate change. The diversion of the water to the tourist places has caused a lot of problems and friction between the locals and tourism authorities. There is an urgent need for sustainable water management in Bali. So the next time you plan a visit to this beautiful island, keep in mind that Bali is facing a crisis and be mindful of the troubles faced by the locals there.