Disconnected: Poverty, Water Supply and Development in Jakarta, Indonesia

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Publication Title

Disconnected: Poverty, Water Supply and Development in Jakarta, Indonesia

Publication Type

Occasional Paper of the 2006 Human Development Report


Karen Bakker, Michelle Kooy, Nur Endah Shofiani,

and Ernst-Jan Martijn

Publication Date



Publication URL




Jakarta’s water supply system is highly fragmented. As documented in this report, the formal water supply system reaches less than 50% of the city’s inhabitants, and is spatially concentrated in higher income areas of the city. The majority of Jakarta’s residents make use of a variety of different water sources– bottled water, vendor water, shallow and deep wells, public hydrants, network connections – to meet their daily water needs (Bakker 2003b), often relying exclusively on water abstracted and delivered outside of the network (Bakker forthcoming, Surjadi et al 1994, McGranahan et al 2001). Indeed, a significant proportion of households with connections to the networked water supply system continue to rely primarily upon other sources of water supply given low water quality and intermittent network pressure, and non-networked (or so-called ‘informal’) water services thrive in areas where networked connections are available (Susantono, Bakker). Documenting and explaining the reasons for this spatial and social differentiation of access, and using this information to intervene in current debates about pro-poor water supply management, are the two primary goals of this report.


1. Introduction
2. A ‘public’ utility? The history of Jakarta’s water supply system
  • Hygienic ‘Normalization’: The development of Batavia’s water supply system (1873 – 1949)
  • Hydraulic Modernity: Water supply as ‘modernist monument’ (1949 – 1964)
  • Water for ‘development’ in the New Order period (1965 – 1990)
3. Disconnected-Poverty and access to water supply in contemporary Jakarta
  • Contemporary water supply in Jakarta: the spatiality of poverty and lack of access
  • Choosing household water supplies
  • Disincentives for water supply utilities to connect the poor
4. Market failure, state failure-Public and private sectors serving the poor
  • The private sector contract
  • Re-regulation: Tariffs, profits, and the re-negotiation of the contract
  • Pro-poor water supply initiatives by the private sector
  • Pro-poor initiatives by the private sector
  • Rethinking private sector involvement?
5. Searching for solutions-Contemporary water law and water governance in Indonesia
6. Conclusions


See also

HDR 2006 - Beyond Scarcity: Power, Poverty and the Global Water Crisis

HDR 2006 Bibliography

External Resources



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