What do you know. Global warming may cause Indonesia to shrink, like a wool sweater in a tumble dryer.
With the rise of the sea level, it is said that 8 of 92 Indonesia's outmost small islands are vulnerable. They are Kepala, Dolangan, Manterawu, Fani, Fanildo, Brass, Laag and Nipah islands.
Although small, they are important: They serve as baselines for Indonesian sea territory. So if one of this island disappeared, we can no longer use its coast as a base.
(Nipah island is a base to draw the border with Singapore).
How bad is it? One survey in 2004 shows that the total area of Nipah island is about 73.6 ha during low tide. On high tide, we are looking at a mere 1.8 ha.
That was a survey in 2004. Meanwhile the sea level goes up 1 - 8 mm per year.
We probably do not have to wait long to see Nipah island completely drowned on high tide.
Jakarta is not looking good either. And not just because of the rise of sea level. We Jakartans use ground water so much it causes the ground to sink 1 - 10 cm per year (depending on the areas).
That, plus a rising sea level: not a good combination.
"That's the government's fault" says one friend. "If the government can provide clean water, then the population won't use ground water."
Ah, yes. That again. But apparently it is not that simple:
"Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, gets drinking water from the Citarum Dam. Under extreme dry years, the water level at Citarum Dam may go down to a level of less than 75m. Under this condition, the water pump at the dam can not be operated and supply of water to processing the plant will stop..."
And with global warming, we will have longer and longer dry season.
So looks like in the near future we'll keep using ground water, and we will keep on sinking.
And the sea level keeps rising.
What does this mean?
"A sea level rise of about 0.25, 0.57 and 1.00 cm per year the total area of north Jakarta being inundated by flood in 2050 would be about 40, 45 and 90 km2 respectively, and this will increase further if land subsidence continues."
"A similar study also indicated that when sea level increases by about 0.5m and land subsidence continues, parts of six sub-districts of North Jakarta and Bekasi will be permanently inundated. In North Jakarta the sub-districts include Kosambi, Penjaringan and Cilincing, and in Bekasi they are Muaragembong, Babelan and Tarumajaya."
Not exactly the kind of 'waterfront' real estate we have in mind.
Doom and gloom? Is there anything us common folks can do?
Sure. Let's start by saving water. Do not let water running while brushing our teeth.Take a shower instead of a bath. Don't run the washing machine half empty. Use it sparingly when washing our car.
And check the house for leaks.
Water is expensive. Just because we got it from the ground does not mean it did not cost us more than the electricity we use to run the pump.
Remember this when the flood comes.
MoE. 2007. Indonesia Country Report: Climate Variability and Climate Change,
and their Implication. Ministry of Environment, Republic of Indonesia, Jakarta.
Asian Development Bank - The Economics of Climate Change in Southeast Asia: A Regional Review.