2016/07/29 08:50 Jackwin Simbolon, “Critical Systems Thinking Review on Decentralised Drinking Water Management in Nauli City, Indonesia”, ISSS 2016 Boulder

Plenary @ISSSMeeting @jackwinsimbolon, Keynote #isss2016USA, 60th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences and 1st Policy Congress of ISSS, Boulder, Colorado, USA

Day 5 theme:  Education, Communication, and Capacity

Plenary IX: Human Capacity, Communication, and Student Research

  • Description: Systemic Sustainability and Systems Literacy ultimately involve transformative changes at the personal and social level. What individual competencies are needed and how will student researchers navigate the treacherous waters ahead for ‘out-of-the-box’ thinkers? We emphasize the importance of integrated personal skills and effective collaborative and innovative networking to build transformative communities.

Chair: Pamela Buckle Henning, Adelphi University

This digest was created in real-time during the meeting, based on the speaker’s presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship, posted by David Ing.

Pamela Buckle introducing Jackwin Simbolon, Flinders University, as the Margaret Mead Award winner

[Jackwin Simbolon]

Part of Ph.D. project, coming from Indonesia, studying at Flinders University in Australia

  • Nauli is a disguised name

Indonesian 1945 constitution says water and natural resources should be under state

In 1999, water management systems in Indonesia decentralized in regional autonomy

  • Public water companies privatized, then operating under profit motive

Samsoir province is the driest region in Indonesia

  • Poorest, and most corrupt

Only one local government in district of Nauli

  • Then 1996, city of Nauli proliferated

Conflict between province, district and city

4 months without rain

Government budget second lowest amongst 32 capital cities in Indonesia

How effective is decentralized water management?

Dimensions of Well-Being, Janet McIntyre; Wicked Problems, Rittel

1986 District company, 26515 connections

2005 City company

Then provincial company

All three are selling water

A lot of people can’t have access to water

  • Spent RP21 billion from companies
  • Real cost RP2 billion
  • So RP19 billion opportunity loss

Authorities fighting each other

Health problems, highest e-coli in water

Exploiting water table

People then go get water from unprotected sources (e.g. rain)

Sources of motivation

Sources of power

Sources of knowledge

Sources of legitimation


Janet McIntyre has extended pragmatism.  Could this shift the thinking of people in authority?

Water is a public good. Is ethos is different from the general feeling, with devolving to local government authorities.

  • Yes, absolutely
  • Governments have forgotten constitution
  • In fieldwork, interviewed officials at all three levels of government, they said, yes we need money to invest; so where is subsidy?
  • Compare Indonesia to Brasil with centralized water system
  • Electricity is owned by government, so why not do the same for water?
  • Phillippines, owned by government

Work in Latin America, where deprivatized water system, and had scandal.

Dilemma:  one perspective not such a good idea for people to be living in such a place that is hard to provide water; vs. since people live there, that government has responsibility to provide for people there.  Lean one way or the other?  Better to ensure essential services, or from a longer term sustainability perspective, shouldn’t have people living there.

  • This is a new idea.  Will think about this.

#isss, #isss2016