Tulisan ini adalah salah satu tulisan yang saya buat di Tahun 2009, ketika sedang menjalani English For Academic Purposes di IALF Bali. Mohon maaf jika bahasanya dalam bahasa Inggris, nanti minta tolong sama om google aja untuk di translate ke dalam bahasa Indonesia.
Limboto Lake, The problems, and Proposed Alternative Management
Limboto Lake is the lake located in two regencies in Gorontalo province, namely Gorontalo city and Gorontalo regency. The existence of this lake is crucial due to its important roles in economy, cultural, and ecological function for this province. Despites its important roles, Lake Limboto has been heavily destructed in the last several decades. The shallow of the lake, narrowing of the lake, water pollution, sedimentation, over exploitation of the fishing area, extinction of the endemic fish, eutrofication, and frequent floods are the problems revolving around this lake. There have been several efforts conducted by the government in order to preserve the existence of this lake. However, the successfulness of these efforts has been put into questions since the lake is getting more and more destructed. This essay will be focused on two main themes namely ineffectiveness of the government programs and policies in preserving this lake, and alternative management of the Lake Limboto. This paper also believes that the current efforts to preserve the lake are inadequate.
Preservation of the Lake Limboto is a very complex problem; from environmental problem to political will of the government. In Provincial Regulation (PERDA) Number 1 year 2008 it is stated that from 1932 to 2005 the area of the lake has shallow from maximum 50m depth in 1932 to maximum 5.5m depth in 2005. The area of the lake had shrunk from 8,000 ha to 2,500ha in that 73 year period (Pemprov Gorontalo, 2008). Furthermore, Kompas (2009) stated that during 1972 to 2002, the area of the lake had dropped as much as 50 ha per year and the sedimentation rate was 1.5-50 cm per year. It further warns that if we do not take action to preserve the existence of this lake, then in 2034 this lake would only be a history. Can we imagine what would happen to the floodplain community of this lake? What would happen to those people who rely their living on this lake? What about Gorontalo City and half of Gorontalo Regency who used this lake as their water reservoir?
The government of Gorontalo had responded to the above questions in terms of setting up several regulations and programs to preserve the lake and its surrounding environments. However, as it is mentioned earlier, the effectiveness and successfulness of these efforts are questionable. From 2004-2008 the government has spent at least 15 billion rupiahs to preserve this lake (Balihristi, 2009). PERDA number 1 year 2008 is the strongest one among those regulations, together with the Master Plan of the lake which was made in 2005. Programs such as restocking of the endemic fish, rehabilitation of the inlet water bodies, and improving community awareness absorbed most of the government budget. However, the impact of these programs is far less effective than it is expected. Annual flood is still happening - even bigger and wider-, endemic fish such as hulu’u and payangga (glossobugius gluris) are extinct now, and 2/3 of the lake surface is now covered by the water hyacinth (Perkumpulan JAPESDAb, 2009).
Furthermore, the ineffectiveness of the government programs is obvious in many cases. Some examples of these ineffective programs are restocking endemic fish programs. In the period of 2004 to 2008, just for the restocking program alone, the government had spent Rp 1,048,785,000 (Balihristi, 2009). The restocking program is a program intended to bring back the endemic fish of the lake so it will not extinct. However, the restocking program made by the government in Lake Limboto was introducing the new species of fresh water fish to the lake. Fish such as gold fish (Cyprinus Carpio) and nila fish, which are clearly not endemic of this lake. The result was those fish could not tolerate and adjust to the Lake Limboto’s water condition. Furthermore, as a project this kind of program is an auction program, whoever can provide the specification of fish being mentioned in the program wins it. Regardless to where the fish coming from and even if the fish is actually coming from the Lake Limboto and just being put back, it is no problem, as long as the project is being fulfilled. In fact, those endemic fish such as payangga, hulu’u and mangga ba’i are now rarely can be found in the market, which implies that these kinds of fish might be in their extinction stage. In addition to this fact, there has not any means to evaluate whether this restocking program success or not. Thus, it is clear that these restocking programs were not effective at all.
Secondly, programs related to improving community awareness in preserving the Lake Limboto. From 2004 to 2008, the government had spent Rp. 795,000,000,- for this programs alone (Balihristi, 2009). This program typically take place in form of socialization, meetings, community gathering and very less practice. This program is counterproductive, because there was a report piled up by an environmental institution, Perkumpulan JAPESDA, which gathered information from the society of the Lake area implying the ineffectiveness of this awareness program. In their report, the floodplain community stated that the program rarely involved the local people. The government came to them, invite them to sit and listen to the talks, have lunch and go home. In fact, the local community are willing to participate if they were actively involved in the program. What they meant by actively involved is that they have some role and influence the decision making process of preserving the lake, not merely being field workers.
Thirdly, the programs to tackle the sedimentation problem in the lake are also inefficient. In average, every year, this lake shrunk about 50ha (Kompas, 2009) from the sediment which get trapped in this lake. This sediment then turned the area of the lake into land. Government respond’s to this problem is by making sediment trap in the delta of several inlet rivers. This sediment trap program in 2007 had consumed Rp. 710,000,000,- Sediment trap is usually formed by constructing an earthen embankment across a low area to form a sedimentation pool during rainfall runoff events. An outlet spillway section constructed of stone provides drainage for the trap. The sediment trap should be surrounded by vegetation. But the problem with this sediment trap is that it is being put in the delta, which means the amounts of the sediment get accumulated in the delta. Since the lake surface is lower than the delta and the amount of sediments are enormous, then this soil finally ended up thrown to the lake. Besides, the catchment areas of this lake are mostly occupied for farming (616km2)(Pemprov Gtlo, 2008). They grow corn in the stiff area, and this kind of farming practices is encouraging the sedimentation, since the humus in the stiff land gets washed into the river by the rain and wind. Sediment trap is also can be seen as a legalization of those reforestation and conversion of the catchment area into farming area. What I mean by saying legalization of those reforestation and land conversion is that, the people will perceive cutting the trees and opening the upland of the lake as no problem things, because no matter how much sediment they produced, it will always ended up in the catchment area. In fact, this is not acceptable under all circumstances, yes, the sediment trap is there, but there have been no efforts to dredge the sediment from those deltas. This means, that the sediments are still there, accumulating the destruction of the lake, making the body of the lake smaller and smaller.
It is clear that there are gaps between government policies and programs in the management of this Lake Limboto. The policy does not go along well with the programs. One very obvious fact is in article number nine of the PERDA number 1, 2008(Pemprov Gtlo, 2008). In this article it is clearly stated that the rights and responsibilities of the Lake Limboto management rely on the provincial government, the government of Gorontalo regency, and the government of Gorontalo city. It implies that the management of Lake Limboto are government based. However, in article number 14 sub-articles 2C, it is stated that the community are involved in planning process, implementation process, monitoring process, and evaluation of lake management problem. This process just never happened, since none of the community members were involved in the making process of any program being implemented in the lake. The government policies seem to tackle strategic problem of the lake in the long run, but none of its implementation in form of programs interpret these policies. Even, I consider the government do not take this problem as seriously as it should have been. The programs regarding to this lake are carelessly planned and implemented. This can be seen in the book 7 (page 19) and book 9(page 44) Government of Gorontalo Regency Annual Working Plan (RKPD) for year 2007 to 2009. In those two books, the concern of the lake preservation and programs are exactly being put in the same sentence, just in different year. It is clear that they just copied the previous year statement and paste it into the next year plan. In addition to this, there are no evaluation of previous programs, whether it success or fail to meet the demand of preserving this lake. How could a program be implemented and approved, if we do not know to what extent its success or failure?
The gap between policies and implementation of Indonesia’s environmental program in general has been pointed out by Patrick Tombola (Tempo, 2009). He clearly stated that there are apparent discrepancy between the policy and its implementation in Indonesia, as there is a lack of policy vision; especially in the area that the central government do not pay much attention to. He further warns that wrong environmental policies of the future government of Indonesia will bring negative impact to the world. In the case of Lake Limboto, his argument thoroughly make sense, Lake Limboto has not draw much attention from central government compare to the Agropolitan (farming with corn as its main entry point) issue in Gorontalo. As if it is ok if the lake is disappearing, as long as it is for corn farming purposes. The reason behind this statement is because, the catchment area of the lake, which supposed to be remain intact has been converted into corn farming area, regardless to whether the land is productive or not. Moreover, this deforestation and land conversion had brought more severe impact in forms of flood. The people who suffer from the annual flood from the lake are not merely the floodplain community but also those who are the citizens of Gorontalo city, since the outlet of this lake is only one river.
More about this gap, Anshari et.all (2005) pointed out that there are some issues on the government side to implement their lake management policies. Those are difficulties in coordination and sharing power. What they meant by difficulties in coordination and sharing power is that the government itself consists of some agencies, which have the same authority to execute the projects. The ego between these institutions makes it hard for the policies to be implemented. This then lead into the second gap that they further mention as competition to be the leader of project executor. Taken for example, the dredging program of the water hyacinth from the lake, it is the responsibility of Public Work (PU) department, but since it is happened in the lake, then it has to coordinate the Fisheries Department (DKP), and because it is an environmental project, it has to involve the Environmental and Research and Technology Board (Balihristi). This situation becomes complex when it comes into dealing with who will lead the project. Each institution have the rights and roles in this project, therefore, it can be quite tricky to get these government institutions to work together. Another difficulty that the government are facing is the project oriented tendency rather than achieving the long term targets. I clearly mentioned this in the example of the restocking fish program.
It has been clarified that there are problems in this lake and that there are discrepancy between the government policies and its implementation. Now, what should be done in terms of achieving the long term target-preserving this lake and improving the local community livelihood- of the Lake Limboto? Government-based management clearly cannot work out here. There are other options of the sustainable lake management. One of those option is community based management system which had had provided by Berkes (in Castro & McGarth, 2003). He argued that community management systems are an effective ways to manage sustainable regional fisheries and improving the life quality of the local people. This is along with Anshari et all (2005) who stated that rights should be given to the local community to exercise the community-based management system. What it meant by community based management is a management by and for the community. The community themselves arrange the area in terms of its access and control and the preservation of the resources in the lake.
One good example of this community based management system was the establishment of “fishing accords” in Amazon floodplain community (Lima,1999;McDaniel, 1997; McGarth, 1993 in Castro & McGarth, 2003). Fishing accords are means to control access and use of local fisheries resources in the lake, which are product of communities discussion, which had had written down and signed by the participants of the meeting (Castro & McGarth, 2003). These fishing accords regulate two main things, access and use of lake resources, and monitoring and enforcement of the procedures. However, this example is not fully suited the Lake Limboto lake management what we expected to take place since it did not ensure the sustainability of the resources. These fishing accords only focused on catching as many fish as possible, than maintaining the sustainability of the fish and fishing areas (Castro & McGarth, 2003). Nevertheless, this model still can be partly adopted as the alternative model of Lake Limboto management as it highlights the community participation. In addition, it suits the government’s contention to improve community participation as mandated in the PERDA no.1 2008. Here the government intervention is needed in terms of giving them assistance with capacity improvement and awareness improvement as to how important the lake is. The community themselves should make regulation and enforcement of those regulation to manage their Lake. If this doesn’t happen in the mean time, the Lake Limboto will only be a history, our next generation will only remember us as those who had made their chance to see this beautiful lake disappear. Take action now, or in 2034 the Lake Limboto will no more exist.
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