Indonesia: River Conservation Key to Riau’s Future - WWF

Ratri M. Siniwi Jakarta Globe 17 Nov 16;

Pekanbaru. World Wildlife Fund Indonesia has launched their second water laboratory in Rimbang Baling, Riau in aims to raise awareness for river conservation and water security for the province.

The Riau water lab is adjacent to freshwater river Subayang, which has been targeted for conservation by the local government in order to revitalize threatened downstreams in the province.

The first water laboratory was introduced in Bandung, West Java, earlier in March which has become an educational platform focusing on the importance of rivers to ecosystems.

For Rimbang Baling, it was especially important as it serves as an ecosystem for Sumatra’s endangered tigers.

“Rimbang Baling has been a popular monitoring site for Sumatran tigers, which is why we need to continue preserving the Subayang River,” said Wisnu Sumantoro, WWF Indonesia program manager for Riau, in Pekanbaru on Tuesday (15/11).

“Water is an important source of livelihood, as without it, living organisms cannot survive, and neither will forests.”

The educational platform was also inaugurated with the support of global banking firm HSBC as part of its water program.

“[River conservation] is not just a [corporate] responsibility, it’s a calling,” said Nuni Setyoko, senior vice president of HSBC Indonesia.

While it may seem strange that a bank is financially backing the project, Nuni said that without water, there is no socioeconomic growth, leaving a bleak outlook for the bank in the future.

The Rimbang Baling ecosystem has over 170 species of birds, 50 mammals and 70 fish.