Indonesia: Efforts underway to restore Lake Limboto in Gorontalo

Otniel Tamindael Antara 6 Dec 16;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The central government is giving special attention to Gorontalo, currently the third conservation province in Indonesia after the provinces of West Papua and East Kalimantan.

Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya explained in Gorontalo on Monday that the conservation effort is intended to preserve and protect the environment, biodiversity and rare flora and fauna and to restore Lake Limboto.

The largest lake in Gorontalo is now in critical condition from an environmental standpoint because of silting, so efforts are being made to restore the lake to its former glory and prevent it from running dry.

Local wisdom in Gorontalo, according to the environment and forestry minister, must be revived as one of the necessary measures for restoring the condition of Lake Limboto.

Conservation efforts in the area, including restoring the condition of the lake, must consider other dimensions to the problem and solution, such as taking into account the values of the nobility in society.

The environment and forestry minister also highlighted the decline in the quality of water at Lake Limboto and promised to step up efforts to conserve and restore the lake.

Lake Limboto is one of the most popular tourist spots in Gorontalo, but it is being threatened by pollution and environmental problems, so prompt measures for preservation are underway.

Without these efforts, the lake, also a habitat for the flora and fauna in the province, will eventually completely dry out.

The locals have been called on to lend their complete support to the revitalization initiative, which is in their own interests and for their welfare.

The Regional Development Planning Board (Bappeda) has coordinated efforts to restore and revitalize Lake Limboto with the government of Gorontalo to synergize the various programs associated with the lakes preservation.

The coordination effort also involved the Department of Public Works of Gorontalo Province, the Lake Limboto Revitalization Team, and the Board of Watershed Management.

Gorontalo Regional Development and Natural Resources Head Sulastri Husain has said her party is currently familiarizing the locals with the revitalization process for Lake Limboto.

"Coordination with the Gorontalo city government is important because the revitalization and handling of Lake Limboto must be comprehensive and sustainable," she remarked in Gorontalo some time ago.

According to her, embankment construction work and the dredging of sediment in the lake will continue and needs the support of the local government, local people, and all relevant parties.

The local government should proactively provide clear information to the locals concerning the revitalization efforts, so that there is no confusion.

The revitalization of Lake Limboto will include recovery efforts upstream, midstream, and downstream, because the largest contribution of sediment occurs upstream.

Gorontalo Governor Rusli Habibie has also encouraged the locals to support the project by not hindering the construction of an embankment around the lake and a sluice gate to manage the flow of water into and out of the lake.

He also pointed out that the embankment and sluice gate will help prevent the floods that frequently plague Gorontalo during the rainy season.

The governor explained that continuous dredging was necessary as the depth of the lake had steadily decreased.

"The revitalization process is aimed at restoring the condition of the lake," he noted, adding that the central government, through the Public Works Ministry, had allocated funds worth Rp150 billion to restore the lake.

The funds were also used for sediment dredging and the construction of a sluice gate and dykes around Lake Limboto.

As part of the 15 inland water bodies in Indonesia that are in critical condition, Lake Limboto, the largest in Gorontalo province, should be returned to its original state.

Thus, Gorontalo Deputy Governor Idris Rahim stated that the provincial administration was ready to implement a forest integration program to save the lake.

"Lake Limboto is currently in a very alarming condition because of silting. Therefore, the forest integration program, involving the military (TNI) and police, aims to save the lake," Rahim remarked in Gorontalo some time ago.

He noted that efforts such as reforestation programs around the lake and along the banks of the tributaries that empty into the lake have been started to prevent silting.

According to him, the forest integration program to save Lake Limboto is a strategic effort as it is among the 15 lakes in critical condition in Indonesia that need to be preserved.

"Lake Limbotos preservation must involve the local communities that are concerned about the viability of the lake," he emphasized.

He pointed out that although the provincial administration has implemented several programs to save the lake, these had yet to yield optimal results.

"Therefore, involving the TNI and Polri in the forest integration program to save Lake Limboto is expected to prove effective," he added.

Even President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) is concerned about the current condition of Lake Limboto, as it was covered by water hyacinths, which make the lake shallower by the day.

Moved by the critical condition of Lake Limboto, the head of state had promised to speed up the dredging of sediments from the lake bed, a process that he estimated could cost nearly Rp11 trillion.

He also urged the public works minister to speed up the dredging process and construction work.

The local government is optimistic that the revitalization and preservation programs for the lake can be accelerated.
(T.O001/INE/KR-BSR/H-YH)

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