1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Indonesia's water priest

August 18, 2021

Privatization means cheap drinking water is no longer a given in Indonesia. In Central Java, a priest has found a solution by helping his village collect rainwater.

Indonesien Java | Global Ideas: Regenwasser Priester
Image: Nicole Ris/DW

The water pastor of Java

In the Indonesian village of Bunder, rainwater is a valuable commodity. When the heavens open during the rainy season, people collect as much of it as they can in water tanks.

In recent years, the Indonesian government has overseen the privatization of the country's drinking water. Now, many people buy their water bottled. For Bunder, water supplies have come under additional pressure as the few springs in the area are threatened by sand mining.

Pastor Romo Kirjito, Bunder, Central Java, Indonesia
Kirjito has pioneered rainwater collection and use as a solution to expensive bottled waterImage: Nicole Ris/A. B. Rodhial Falah/DW

But Pastor Romo Kirjito has taught his village how to collect rainwater as generations before them did — and treat it with more modern technology. Electrolysis kills microbes and raises the pH level, improving its quality.

Bunder has become a pioneer "rainwater community," with 80 other villages around the country now following its lead. 

A film by Nicole Ris und A. B. Rodhial Falah