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ITB J. .. Vol. XX , No.

X, 20XX, XX-XX

Finding the Most Appropriate Method of Water

Conservation in Indonesia: A Literature Review Study
Alia Widyarini H.1 & R. Aswin Rahadi2

School of Planning & Policy Development, Bandung Institute of Technology

School of Business and Management, Bandung Institute of Technology

Abstract. In Indonesia, local dwellers used to obtain their clean water by

conducting land drilling and pump the clean water which they could find. If this
action were allowed to be done by most of Indonesian people, especially people
in Bandung, then the availability of clean water will reduced dramatically, if not
exhausted. Water conservation become very important and currently government
has realized this by conducting several efforts and action to convince society on
the danger of this action.
This research will try to discuss about water conservation, how far the action
does has been implemented in Indonesia, and what are the appropriate proven
water conservation action abroad which are suitable to be implemented here in
Indonesia. The second objective of this research is to analyze which methods that
are the most suitable and affordable to be implemented in Indonesian household.
The initial findings of this research suggest that the implementation of water
conservation in Indonesia should start first from household scale level. The most
appropriate water conservation methods to be implemented in Indonesia are the
simple water harvesting methods. Additional actions that could support the water
conservation action include: passive water collection system with site grading;
using Puslitbangkim product biority for reuse water; using fixture that can save
the water, start from fixtures that are affordable; construction of sumur resapan
and lubang resapan biopori in the yard; and by changing the lifestyle and
behavior of the society.
Keywords: Indonesia, residential, stormwater, water conservation, water harvesting,


Water is an important aspect in human life. People cannot live with water. But
without realizing, people unwisely use water for their daily lives, such as for
drinking, cooking, washing, and plant irrigation. People feel that water will
always be there for them, but in reality water crisis happened in many countries
nowadays., a nonprofit organization from Kansas, USA, predicted
that nowadays one from eight people in the world cannot get clean water. Last
year, World Water Development Report 2010 reported that around 4000
children have died everyday because of dirty water or bad condition in the
Received ________, Revised _________, Accepted for publication __________

Alia Widyarini H. & R. Aswin Rahadi

world. If this problem is not solved, in 2050 quarter of world population will
live in the county that experiencing crisis on fresh water. [1]


Research Background

In Indonesia, local dwellers used to obtain their clean water by conducting land
drilling and by pumping the clean water from the ground. Within a few meters
depth one can find clean water for daily use. This is a trusted method to get
clean water on ones own land. [2]
Furthermore, the rapid development in Bandung making changes in its land use,
many buildings are built and the city becomes more crowded. Nowadays the
development begins to spread to the Northern part of Bandung, which is the
area for rainwater catchment. So, when the rain is pouring, many roads in
Bandung will be flooded, even in some areas that have not experienced flooding

Figure 1 Flood in few areas of Bandung (Pikiran Rakyat, 2008)


Problem Statement

As mentioned in the previous section, flood usually happened in several areas in

Bandung. This is caused due to the decreasing area which absorbs rain waters
that at the end interrupted the hydrological cycle. Ground water supply is
decreasing gradually which caused landslides. Flood and surface runoff often
occurred, and it presenting negative impact to the society.
Clean water which is came from the ground water usually being used for
drinking, cooking, laundering, and for bathing. The water also being used for
other needs such as flushing, watering the plants, car washing, mopping, and
others, although for these kind of activities, they are not required to use the
ground water with massive volume intake.
Due to that, it is regretted if the water from rain which can be considered as
abundant is left to waste, while on the other part of the world, water is

Finding the Most Appropriate Method of Water Conservation in

Indonesia: A Literature Review Study

considered as a scarce and expensive commodity. With this in mind, water

conservation becomes very important, and fortunately our government has come
to realize it. The activity to socialize water conservation is already being
enforced to the society so they also realized the importance of water, how to
treat and reuse water, and to conduct rain water gathering.


Purpose of Research

This paper will try to discuss about water conservation, how far water
conservation has being conducted in Indonesia, and how to implement the
modern water conservation techniques which already being conducted abroad in
Indonesia. The second objective of this paper is to determine the most
appropriate and best water conservation technique to be implemented in
Indonesia, viewed from ease and cost aspects.



This paper will only discuss water conservation in household scale, especially
water conservation technique which relates with active, passive, and other


Signification and Contribution

This paper is expected to give contribution on the level of understanding about

methods available in water conservation techniques, as one of the major aspect
in sustainability. Other than that, this paper aims to motivate the society to do
water conservation, because basically this can be done in a simple and cheap
way. In general, it is important for the society to realize that clean water is
longer considered as renewable resource, and each day the deposits are depleted
slowly. If no action is being done to prevent this, then in the near future we will
face clean water crisis.

Water Conservation Method

According to Kim and Rigdon [2], there are two methods in water conservation:
water reuse and reduce consumption. Methods for water conservation may
reduce input, output, or both. This is because, conventionally, the water that is
supplied to a building and the water that leaves the building as sewage are all
treated by municipal water treatment plants. Therefore, a reduction in use also
produces a reduction in waste. Principally, the method of water conservation is
an adoption of 3R (reduce, reuse, and recycle) as part of sustainability.


Alia Widyarini H. & R. Aswin Rahadi

Reuse Water

Water consumed in buildings can be classified as two types: graywater and

sewage. Graywater is produced by activities such as hand washing. While it is
not meeting the drinking-water quality, it does not need to be treated as nearly
as intensively as sewage. In fact, it can be recycled within a building, perhaps to
irrigate ornamental plants or flush toilets. Well-planned plumbing systems
facilitate such reuse. [3]


Rainwater Harvesting

In most parts of the world, rainwater falling on buildings has not been
considered a useful resource. Buildings are typically designed to keep the rain
from the occupants, and the idea of utilizing rain water falling on building
surfaces has not been widely explored. Building envelopes, particularly roofs,
can become rainwater collecting devices, in combination with cisterns to hold
collected water. [3]
According to Kinkade-Levario [4], rainwater harvesting is the collection of rain
without an artificial inducement. The aim of rainwater harvesting is to
concentrate runoff and collect it in a basin or cistern to be stored for future use.
Rainwater captured from roof catchments is the easiest and most common
method used to harvest rainwater. It is, however, not the only harvesting
There are six basic components in water harvesting, depend on the level of
water quality needed, that is: catchment; conveyance; filtration; storage;
distribution; and purification. The amount of water collected is depending on
size of catchment area, surface texture, surface porosity and slopes condition.

Finding the Most Appropriate Method of Water Conservation in

Indonesia: A Literature Review Study

Figure 2 Typical components of a residential building rainwater harvesting

system for landscape irrigation (Kinkade-Levario, 2007)
NOTE: Both above-grade and below-grade cisterns are shown. For residential systems,
either may be appropriate. It is not necessary to have both types of systems. Cistern size
and catchment area should be balanced for maximum accumulated storage. Not all site
rainfall runoff needs to be directed to cistern, only the quantity required to maintain the
proposed landscape irrigation budget.


Rooftop collection
Gutter with leaf screen if building adjacent to trees
Five to six-inch gutters, sized per local plumbing code
Downspout sized per local plumbing code, sediment trap for ground-level
catchment or direct to cistern
Pipe to cistern, typically 4-inch diameter schedule 40 PVC pipe.
Debris and sediment interceptor, first-flush device.
Screw-off end cap for cleaning.
Catchbasin for paved/hard surface ground-level runoff collection, with sediment
Rainwater inlet, inlet to cistern must be a minimum of 10 inches below top of
cistern. An inflow smoothing filter may be appropriate at this location depending
on proximity of rainwater inlet to irrigation supply filter. The smoothing filter will
slow rainwater inlet turbulence that may disturb the fine sediment settled on the
bottom of the cistern.
Maximum water level to be 12 inches below top of cistern.
Minimal level of water to maintain priming in landscape irrigation pump
(approximately 12 inches), level of water to be determined by engineer or
irrigation specialist.





Alia Widyarini H. & R. Aswin Rahadi

Twenty-four inch access for cleaning.

Alternate water supply, must not obstruct the 24-inch access. Alternate water
supply may be proposed for a cistern manual-fill option for droughts and plant
establishment periods when additional water is required. Alternate water supply
may also be automatic for fill option when rainwater supplies are inefficient.
Typical valve
Atmospheric vacuum breaker
Alternate water source, possibly domestic or municipal supply.
Cistern overflows (same size as inlet) to a dry well or gravity outlet to landscape
basin if site conditions allow. An additional option would be to outlet to an
adjacent flood retention underground storage pipe that is tied to a dry well. Cistern
overflow must be a minimum of 12 inches below top of cistern to avoid
contamination of alternate water supply, or be 6 inches below any debris strainers
in an above-grade cistern.
Landscape irrigation supply filter with automatic shutoff to maintain priming in
pump if water falls below minimum level in cistern. Locate filter a minimum of 6
inches from cistern bottom to avoid settled fine sediment.
Optional sand filter
Landscape irrigation pump and pressure tank.
Typical valve
Water supply line for irrigation system.
Removable leaf and debris strainer basket.
Hose bib for draining cistern.

Figure 3 Rainwater harvesting process (Kinkade-Levario, 2007)

Finding the Most Appropriate Method of Water Conservation in

Indonesia: A Literature Review Study


Passive Rainwater Collection and Stormwater

Passive rainwater collection is natural approach. The method collects surface

runoff using such techniques as site grading and permeable surfaces, diverts and
retains stormwater so that it benefits the landscaped elements of a site.
According to Kinkade-Levario [4], there are numerous ways to slow and direct
stormwater, including microbasins, swales, French drains, rain gardens,
permeable pavements, and curb and road grading design.

Figure 4 Passive rainwater harvesting: curb cut allows rainwater from street
gutter to enter landscaped/natural desert area (left) and landscape retention basin
(right) (Kinkade-Levario, 2007)

A more natural approach to land development is needed to mimic natural

cycles, especially the hydrological cycle. Therefore, collecting and storing water
in the soil, above the water table, is a process that increases green water
levels. Increasing soil moisture means less water needs to be artificially applied
to a landscape to maintain its existence.


Reduce Water Consumption

The selection of water supply system and fixtures can reduce the water
consumption and sewerage that is produced. Based on Hui [5], these are fixtures
that can reduce the water consumption:

Toilets: low flush toilet, dual flush toilets (3/6 liters), vacuum or
compressed air toilet, cistern displacement devices, waterless toilets,
composting toilets (heated or unheated), incinerating toilets.

Urinals: urinals control (infrared, radar, autoflush) and waterless


Alia Widyarini H. & R. Aswin Rahadi

Wash hand basins: push taps, flow control, self closing, tap flow

Shower: shower mixers, water saving showerheads, and self closing

shower system.

Outside and garden: water control.

Clothes Washers: water saving washers, control and usage.

Water supply: auto shut off and pressure regulators

Figure 5 Fixtures that can reduce water consumption (Kinkade-Levario, 2007)

Low-flow faucets and small toilet tanks are now required by code in many areas
of the country. Vacuum-assisted and biocomposting toilets further reduce water
consumption. Biocomposting toilets, available on both residential and
commercial scales, treat sewage on site, eliminating the need for energyintensive municipal treatment.
Indigenous landscaping using plants native to the local ecosystem will
also reduce water consumption. These plants will have adapted to the local
rainfall levels, eliminating the need for additional watering. Where watering is
needed, the sprinkler heads should be carefully placed and adjusted to avoid
watering the sidewalk and street. (Kim J J, Rigdon B, 1998) Water conservation
can also be done by purifying surface water (river, dam, lake) and ground water.

The Implementation of Water Harvesting in Residential: Cole

Residence, San Juan Island, AS

Type of system that is used in this house is active system with catchment area is
rooftop around 5000 square feet. The system was installed in 2005 and the

Finding the Most Appropriate Method of Water Conservation in

Indonesia: A Literature Review Study

annual rainfall in the area approximately 42 inch. The containment is abovegrade 30,000-gallon metal tank and one 240-gallon ball tank for collecting from
all down spouts prior to gravity feed to tank. Annual quantity collected
approximately 117,810 gallons and water usage is potable water supply.
Equipments that is used in the system is Grundfos 3-horsepower pump, cistern
level controls, 60 gallon pressure tank, and filters (UV, 5 and 1 micron, and 3micron charcoal filter).

Figure 6 Pressure tank for the system (left) and tank with the fire hose
connection (right) (Kinkade-Levario, 2007)

In an effort to eliminate all polluted water the family has implemented a

rainwater catchment system to provide all potable water. The remote location of
the home also requires a fire-fighting water supply that the local fire and
emergency trucks can hook into when needed.
The home is located 45 feet above the water storage tank. The rainwater is
initially directed to a ball tank that filters the rainwater through gravel in the
bottom of the tank. The ball tank also works as a manifold for directing water
from the multiple drain pipes to a gravityfed pipe that leads intofrom the
bottomthe main storage tank situated below the home. The main storage tank
is fitted with two withdrawing pipes; the first is a vertical pipe that reaches to
the tank floor.
This pipe remains as a firepump apparatus for emergency use. The second pipe
enters through the tank floor and is attached to a 3- horsepower pump and a 60gallon pressure buffer tank, which returns to feed the home above. The metal
tank is lined with a 35-mm polypropylene material that includes a nylon mesh
layer to add strength. The liner sits on a tank floor of bricks set in sand. It
reaches up the walls of the metal tank and is attached at the top of the tank,
which is enclosed with a metal roof. [4]


Alia Widyarini H. & R. Aswin Rahadi

Figure 7 Equipment room with pump and filters (Kinkade-Levario, 2007)

Implementation of Water Conservation in Indonesia


Water Harvesting or Sistem Pengumpulan Air Hujan (SPAH)


In general, all of the water conservation methods mentioned above can be

implemented in Indonesia, especially the one that is related with water
harvesting. As mentioned before, with Indonesias high concentration of rain
fall all year and the depleted stock of ground water, then it is strongly suggested
that water harvesting to be implemented in Indonesia.
In general, Indonesian people have unconsciously tried to implement the water
harvesting conventionally, by placing big buckets in their front yards. Water
from the rain that has been collected usually being used to water the plants,
clearing the floors, and other activities which do not require water with
drinkable quality. Even there are idea emerged that water from wudhu are stored
and be used for watering the plants.
Water harvesting implementation in Cole Residence, San Juan Island, USA, can
be used as a benchmark for rain water harvesting system in Indonesia, which
provides a simple, easy, and cheap solution. The way to harvest the water is by
placing gutter which collects rain fall on the house roof, and then distributing
them through pipes to water tanks above or underground. Besides that, for flat
roof, those water pipes can directly be distributed to the water tanks with the Air
Conditioner water. Before entering the tanks, according to the water harvesting
method, it should passed through filtering process first, to ensure that there are
no unwanted materials or dirts entering the water tanks. After the water being

Finding the Most Appropriate Method of Water Conservation in

Indonesia: A Literature Review Study
stored in the tanks, then using special pumps they are distributed through pipes
to be used for flushing, watering the plants, car washing, and other activities.

Figure 8 Simple water harvesting in residential, with surface, at grade or aboveground cisterns(left) and below grade or under ground tank (right) (Oo, 2010)


Passive Rainwater Collection System

Besides the active water harvesting process, passive water harvesting can also
be conducted by distributing the rain water from concretes to ground surfaces.
For this category, the techniques that usually being conducted include site
grading and water absorbing materials for concrete, such as grass block and
paving block.


Reuse Water with Biority

Reuse water method for water conservation can also be used in Indonesia, by
using household waste water treatment technology via contact media. The
contact media mentioned here come from the result of Pusat Penelitian dan
Pengembangan Permukiman (Puslitbangkim) research called biority. According
to Yudiarti [6], the reuse of water in household should be proposed as legal
rules. However, the action and the result from water reuse in Indonesia should
be studied more thoroughly, especially to understand the risk to health due to
improper application.


Alia Widyarini H. & R. Aswin Rahadi

Figure 9 Biority, sewerage treatment technology (Puslitbangkim, 2011)


Reduce Water Consumption

Fixtures that can save water use has begun to popularized in Indonesia recently,
especially on commercial buildings, such as dual flush toilets and eco washer,
water faucet using push and self closing taps. The price of those water saving
fixtures has gradually become achievable for the society, even now most of the
toilets that are being sold in Indonesia use the dual flush, and some sanitary
companies has sold toilets with eco washer fixtures in cheaper packages. This
way, the companies has shared their part to the society to conserve water.

Figure 10 Fixtures that can save water, such as eco washer, dual flush toilet, and
aqua auto faucet (self closing) (Toto, 2011)


Making Infiltration Well and Lubang Resapan Biopori (LRB)

In conversing water, currently the government has encouraged the society to

build infiltration well in their yards. The purpose of this is to increase the
ground water level, that during the dry season we can still obtain water. Besides
that, the infiltration well is very suitable for high density houses. For every
house/ building per 50 m2, one infiltration well can be build with 1 m3 volume.
There are other alternative for infiltration well, which is by constructing Lubang
Resapan Biopori (LRB). LRB is a hole that being builds vertically in the ground
with 10 centimeter of diameter, depth of 1 meter, and only took 8 minutes to
construct it. For every 7 m2 of building requires 1 unit of LRB. [6]

Finding the Most Appropriate Method of Water Conservation in

Indonesia: A Literature Review Study
Another way for this method is by planting several types of plants in front of the
house, so not all of the garden area consisted of hardscapes, and there is still
area remaining for water to enter the soil.
Besides that, according to Vale and Vale [8], the society behavior towards water
use is considered to be the most important part in water conservation, because
all of the aforementioned methods above would work, without the support of
the user. The use of water saving fixture in the long run, can become
ineffective, depends on the user behavior.

Figure 11 Rainwater infiltration well (Savitri, 2009)


In conclusion, water conservation awarenesss and implementation has to start

in Indonesia, starting from the household level. The appropriate methods for
water conservation in Indonesia can be categorized as follows:

Simple water harvesting system by using gutter that collects rain water
and distributing in through pipes to the water tanks.

Passive water harvesting system by specified site grading that can

distribute water from the hardscape to the softscape, or by implementing
water barrier or retention so the water flow do not go to the hardscape

Optimum use of Puslitbangkim innovation result, through household

waste water treatment technology via contact media called biority as one
alternative for water conservation (water reuse).


Alia Widyarini H. & R. Aswin Rahadi

The implementation of water saving fixtures, such as dual flush toilet

with eco water, faucet with push and self closing taps.

Construction of infiltration well in household garden to maintain the

quality and the quantity of ground water.

The most important method is by implementing lifestyle and behavior

that supports water saving.

The constant exploitation of ground water, decreasing of rainwater catchment

area gradually and unwise use of water are most common things happened in
Indonesia regarding water supply. If there is no action being done, then one can
imagine what will happen someday, that is clean water crisis. People who live
in downtown area of Bandung are experiencing difficulty in obtaining their
water supply. Water supply from PDAM (Perusahaan Daerah Air Minum) only
can be obtained occasionally and not continuously, also the quality of ground
water is not good.
Therefore, finding most appropriate water conservation method in Indonesia is
important thing. From this paper, we can conclude that water conservation that
can be done in Indonesia is: water harvesting; implementation of passive
rainwater collection with site grading; the use of product from Puslitbangkim,
biority for reuse water; using fixtures that can save water, start from the
affordable fixtures; making of infiltration well and lubang resapan biopori in
the house; and the last one is implementing lifestyle and behavior that supports
water saving.

This paper originally made to fulfill the assignment for Architecture and
Technology in Architecture Department, School Architecture, Planning, and
Policy Development, Institute Technology Bandung (ITB), Indonesia



Kapal Taman Pembersih Limbah. (2011, Maret 14-20). Majalah Tempo .

Jakarta, Indonesia: PT. Temprint. (Magazine)
Surya, F. (2008, July). Finding Sustainable Solutions for Situ Babakan: A
preventive approach towards slum forming in kampong peripheries in
Jakarta. (Thesis)
Kim J J, Rigdon B. (1998, December). Introduction to Sustainable
Design. Sustainable Architecture Module. Ann Arbor, Michigan, United
States of America: National Pollution Prevention Center for Higher
Education. (Micellanous)

Finding the Most Appropriate Method of Water Conservation in

Indonesia: A Literature Review Study





Kinkade-Levario, H. (2007). Design for Water: Rainwater Harvesting,

Stormwater Catchment, and Alternate Water Reuse. Gabriola Island:
New Society Publishers. (Book)
Hui, S. (1996, December). Water Conservation Method. Dipetik
December 31, 2005, dari Sustainable Architecture: (URL Link)
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