Indonesia resumes construction of sea wall to protect Jakarta

Reading Time: 2 minutes
An artist's impression of Jakarta planned sea wall development.
An artist’s impression of Jakarta planned sea wall development

In what could be a role model for Bangkok, the Indonesian government decided to resume with the planned construction of a sea wall plus artificial islands in Jakarta Bay to prevent the capital from sinking below sea level and getting flooded in the long run.

Workers will restart land reclamation five months after work was suspended due to regulatory and environmental concerns.

Greater Jakarta, one of the world’s most densely populated cities, sits on a swampy plain and is sinking at a faster rate than any other city in the world. It focused its attention on bolstering its defenses with a 32-kilometer sea wall and refurbishing the crumbling flood canal system.

The “Giant Sea Wall,” as the project is called, aims to shore up northern Jakarta while revamping the capital’s image into a Singapore-like waterfront city. The groundbreaking ceremony for the mega-project was conducted in October 2014. The Netherlands and Indonesia join hands to construct the project.

“If this Giant Sea Wall is not done, that will create a big impact on Jakarta with regards to salt water penetration,” Coordinating Maritime Minister Luhut Pandjaitan said.

Jakarta is sinking at a rate of between 7.5 and 14 centimeters per year due to deep groundwater extraction in combination with pressure from high-rise buildings in Jakarta. More than four million people (of a total population of ten million) are exposed to flooding as the northern part of the city would be gradually submerged by the sea if no immediate action is taken. In fifty years’ time, the sea level is expected to be three to five meters above Jakarta’s street level. By 2025, increased flooding from rivers is expected as most rivers will stop discharging under gravity to the sea.

The $40-billion sea wall will be built in the form of a Garuda (the large mythical bird which is Indonesia’s national symbol) and is set to become a landmark. It will take 10 to 15 years before construction of the wall is finished. In the meantime, existing dikes will be strengthened.

Included in the master plan is the building of 17 artificial islands off Jakarta’s northern coast, where property developers plan to build residential and industrial areas, shopping malls and attractions similar to Singapore’s Sentosa Island complete with toll roads, airport, railway, seaport, waste treatment, water reservoir and green areas on a space of about 4000 hectares which should be able to be home to approximately two million people.

In comparison, parts of Bangkok are sinking at an annual rate of between three and ten centimeters and would be underwater before 2030 if nothing is undertaken to prevent it. Ongoing efforts to fortify the city with flood walls have been slowed by political squabbles and red tape. The commission studying the issue said that an urgently-needed seawall would cost more than $14.4 billion.

Other Asian cities at risk of being submerged are Ho Chi Minh City, Dhaka and Shanghai.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

An artist’s impression of Jakarta planned sea wall development

In what could be a role model for Bangkok, the Indonesian government decided to resume with the planned construction of a sea wall plus artificial islands in Jakarta Bay to prevent the capital from sinking below sea level and getting flooded in the long run.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

An artist's impression of Jakarta planned sea wall development.
An artist’s impression of Jakarta planned sea wall development

In what could be a role model for Bangkok, the Indonesian government decided to resume with the planned construction of a sea wall plus artificial islands in Jakarta Bay to prevent the capital from sinking below sea level and getting flooded in the long run.

Workers will restart land reclamation five months after work was suspended due to regulatory and environmental concerns.

Greater Jakarta, one of the world’s most densely populated cities, sits on a swampy plain and is sinking at a faster rate than any other city in the world. It focused its attention on bolstering its defenses with a 32-kilometer sea wall and refurbishing the crumbling flood canal system.

The “Giant Sea Wall,” as the project is called, aims to shore up northern Jakarta while revamping the capital’s image into a Singapore-like waterfront city. The groundbreaking ceremony for the mega-project was conducted in October 2014. The Netherlands and Indonesia join hands to construct the project.

“If this Giant Sea Wall is not done, that will create a big impact on Jakarta with regards to salt water penetration,” Coordinating Maritime Minister Luhut Pandjaitan said.

Jakarta is sinking at a rate of between 7.5 and 14 centimeters per year due to deep groundwater extraction in combination with pressure from high-rise buildings in Jakarta. More than four million people (of a total population of ten million) are exposed to flooding as the northern part of the city would be gradually submerged by the sea if no immediate action is taken. In fifty years’ time, the sea level is expected to be three to five meters above Jakarta’s street level. By 2025, increased flooding from rivers is expected as most rivers will stop discharging under gravity to the sea.

The $40-billion sea wall will be built in the form of a Garuda (the large mythical bird which is Indonesia’s national symbol) and is set to become a landmark. It will take 10 to 15 years before construction of the wall is finished. In the meantime, existing dikes will be strengthened.

Included in the master plan is the building of 17 artificial islands off Jakarta’s northern coast, where property developers plan to build residential and industrial areas, shopping malls and attractions similar to Singapore’s Sentosa Island complete with toll roads, airport, railway, seaport, waste treatment, water reservoir and green areas on a space of about 4000 hectares which should be able to be home to approximately two million people.

In comparison, parts of Bangkok are sinking at an annual rate of between three and ten centimeters and would be underwater before 2030 if nothing is undertaken to prevent it. Ongoing efforts to fortify the city with flood walls have been slowed by political squabbles and red tape. The commission studying the issue said that an urgently-needed seawall would cost more than $14.4 billion.

Other Asian cities at risk of being submerged are Ho Chi Minh City, Dhaka and Shanghai.

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