Proposed reductions of preventable deaths in rural Indonesia through stormwater harvesting and wastewater treatment

  • Shane Elson


Worldwide, what is responsible for killing the most children each year? AcuteRespiratory Infection (2 million children). What is second? Diarrhoea (1.8 million children). Thisstatistic does not include the additional 300,000 adults who also die from this preventable condition.Diarrhoea kills more children that malaria, HIV and measles combined (UNDP, 2006). “In most ofthe developing world, unclean water is a greater threat to human lives than violent conflict. Rightnow almost half the population of the developing world suffer from diseases because of dirty waterand inadequate sanitation” (Peace Child International, 2006). While the Millennial DevelopmentGoals (MDG) and the United Nations provide an overarching view of the existing situations bycountry, the initial goal of this project is to investigating the specific existing conditions in ruralIndonesia, especially Southern Kalimantan, and how they relate to the MDG (UNDP, 2003).This will in turn allow site specific proposals in partnership with the local communities that areculturally and financially feasible. They will then be designed and constructed in conjunctionwith community education. The preliminary proposal is to use stormwater harvesting to providea clean water source in replacement of their current sources; seasonal wells, contaminated riversand swamps. In conjunction is the proposal to eliminate their exposure to open sewage throughsimple septic systems. Through these processes, the goal is to decrease the preventable cases ofsickness through increased access to clean up and decreased exposure to open sewage. This in turnwill reduce the associated deaths due to diarrhoea (WHO/UNICEF, 2009). The project is still inthe initial research and development stages as of March 2012 with the first project hoping to beundertaken by the end of 2012.


Asian Development Bank, March 2006, Country Water Action: Indonesia Simple Solution for Drinking Water Makes Big Difference.

Peace Child International, 2006, Water Rights and Wrongs, Peace Child International, Wales, UK.

Report from the local authority in Southern Kalimantan.

UNDP, 2003, Human Development Report – Millennium Development Goals: A compact among nations to end human poverty, Oxford University Press, New York.

UNDP, 2006, Human Development Report – Beyond scarcity: Power, poverty and the global water crisis, Palgrave Macmillan, New York.

WHO/UNICEF, 2009, Why are Children Still Dying, WHO/UNICEF, New York