Welang River Basin Management Academy (RBMA) final presentation was successfully held on 17 March 2022. This training was tailor-made to support the knowledge transfer and capacity building for the Water Resource Department of the East Java Provincial Government’s young staff. A collaboration with the East Java office, the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Nuffic, and executed by HZ University and The Water Agency, the training used Welang Masterplan as the learning ground, reflecting on the real situation and challenges in the river.
RBMA courses ran for twelve months, starting in April 2021 until April 2022. The main goal of the training is to facilitate knowledge transfer and transformation, which has a big potential to be replicated in the future for new DPU-EJP employees to provide opportunities for lifelong learning following the Sustainable Development Goals 4 agenda. The program consisted of 29 lectures that were divided into five blocks, followed by the final block on practical work.
Block 1 – Systems Thinking & System Analysis
Block 2 – Planning For The Future
Block 3 – Stakeholder Engagement
Block 4 – Circular And Ecosystem-Based Planning
Block 5 – River Basin Governance
Block 6 – Practical Work Of Welang River Basin Assignment
The knowledge earned from the previous blocks is then incorporated into building a solution deck for the Welang River Basin Assignment practical work.
Alternative Solutions from Practical Work Of Welang River Basin Assignment
Four groups and four individual participants followed the practice stage. Using a nature-based approach to solve real-world problems in the Welang River, this practicum stage aims to foster participant innovation. Gully plugs and tree replanting are part of the Welang watershed’s upstream section; this should be reinforced by affirming regulations on land use transfer and conservation efforts. The majority of recommendations for the middle stream include
- creating wetlands to increase water retention time,
- recharging groundwater and serving as water purification sites, and
- reviving dead river sections as fish farming sites that also serve as additional water storage.
The construction of retention ponds and sediment traps in the middle stream is also recommended. Proposals that can be implemented downstream include adding bio-pores facilities and cooperating with the government’s program and CSR of related companies. The downstream section close to the estuary can be developed into a coastal reservoir with sediment control to avoid siltation.
This program is well-received by the stakeholders involved. With an online class model that is made concise and provides national and foreign expertise, some participants have been interested in this TMT Welang from the beginning. They look forward to having the opportunity to learn again. Participants find it difficult to access a learning platform between their career and day jobs. This program made it more accessible, as there are online classes and flexible times. Moreover, the programs offered to cover the field of water resources that prioritizes sustainability.
Participants also felt the positive impact of knowledge transfer in this program. As stated by one of the participants, the nature-based solution approach is a mindset that is rarely found in Public Works (due to PU’s focus on hard infrastructure), so this knowledge is valuable. The participants believed the opportunity for a more integrated water basin management would undoubtedly present itself. By then, they would be able to comprehend watershed management in a more sustainable, holistic, and integrated manner. TMT also motivates the participants to conduct scientific research because it forces them to be active and innovative in their thinking and more sensitive in observing factual situations in the field.
The practical assignment stage aims to help participants comprehend the multidisciplinary nature of watershed management. Participants learn to address a broad range of topics in water resources management. They agreed that it must address the geopolitical and socioeconomic effects and constraints, natural and man-made contamination of water resources, and surface and groundwater interaction. All of which are frequently overlooked by citizens, decision-makers, and scientists.
Participants are excited to see this program continued. They believe this program teaches young civil servants to collaborate in the water sector with open-mindedness and a broader perspective. This program can be enriched by a more comprehensive range of topics, such as research-based instructional, professional, and outreach programs, to promote effective and equitable educational practices for all to work together to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Particularly in the water sector, by improving coordination across agencies and authorities, including planning, budgeting, and information systems management, as well as more meaningful community engagement with a gender inclusion, policy-oriented, and circular economy by managing the environment and potential energy in collaboration with local people and government.
Article by: Amanda Abiella Resmana