Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
It is no long shot. Indonesia is facing serious threats on many fronts from climate change, a government report says.
A country report on the impact of climate change says that water scarcity is a clear danger to Indonesia, with some coastal areas facing the real prospect of disappearing off the map.
"Indonesia is vulnerable to climate change. Floods, droughts, landslides and forest fires are common climate-related hazards here," Rizaldi Boer, the coordinating author of the central government's report Climate Variability and Climate Change and their Implications in Indonesia, said Wednesday.
The executive summary of the first-ever official report on climate change was delivered at an international seminar on water and climate change Wednesday.
The report will be published next month before being submitted to the United Nations.
The report says climate change will lengthen the dry period caused by El-ni¤o and deplete sources of surface water.
Warmer temperature are expected to lead to a rise in sea levels and worsen the quality of groundwater, which has long been the main source of drinking water in urban areas.
The report says saltwater intrusion is already occurring in Jakarta, Surabaya and Semarang.
In Jakarta, the problem has been evident since the 1960s. The shallow groundwater of coastal areas was brackish before major groundwater developments in previous decades.
Saltwater intrusion in the shallow and deep aquifer has reached 15 kilometers from the coastline in Jakarta and caused serious land subsidence that will make the areas more flood prone, the report says.
Indonesia has around 81.000 kilometers of coastline.
Many industries such as oil and gas, fisheries, agriculture and tourism operate in coastal areas.
The report says a one meter rise in sea levels would flood 405,000 hectares of coastal land and could lead to the disappearance of small islands. This would have serious implications for Indonesia's state borders.
The report says a water crisis would negatively affect crop yields in farming areas, while an increase in temperatures and carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations would also affect rice yields.
The report also predicts global warming will make more people become vulnerable to outbreaks of water and vector-borne disease such as malaria and dengue fever.
Indonesia is currently the world's third largest emitter of greenhouse gases due to the significant release of carbon dioxide from deforestation.