Prohibition of groundwater utilisation by industry is still not mandatory

Jakarta – Head of the Center for Groundwater and Environmental Geology (PATGTL) of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (EMR), Ediar Usman, said that the government has issued regulations related to groundwater management, namely Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Regulation No. 11 of 2023 concerning Control of Groundwater Utilization.

According to him, the regulation is only an appeal, so it does not have binding legal force. This can be seen from the many industries that utilise groundwater without a permit.

Based on data from the Geological Agency of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM), in 2023, there were 8,047 applications for groundwater exploitation permits submitted by industries. Of these, 7,910 licenses have been processed, 137 licenses are in process, and 2,707 licenses have been rejected.

“The regulation of groundwater is to protect the community from excessive exploitation of groundwater therefore, we need to control it. We must pay attention to the existing reserves,” Usman said in an official statement.

For areas with critical reserves, he suggested that large industries not utilise groundwater but utilise surface water, such as lake and river water, to protect the community’s needs.

“Groundwater reserves extracted from the depths will require a long process to be replenished, even hundreds or millions of years. So if it is taken, it will not be replenished quickly. That’s why there are now regulations to regulate it to prevent the deficit from going too far,” added Usman.

Meanwhile, EMR’s Head of the Geological Agency, Muhammad Wafid, explained that the Geological Agency has conducted groundwater investigations in addition to socialising groundwater licensing in 19 locations. The results resulted in 27 recommendations and constructing a Groundwater Monitoring Network in 3 groundwater basins. (Hartatik)

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