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Jakarta: Saving a sinking megacity

Michael Wetzel
January 15, 2019

The Indonesian capital Jakarta is sinking. At the same time, sea levels are rising. Now the megacity is fighting back against the rising tide — and for its very survival.

A house flooded by the sea
Image: DW/Michael Wetzel

Indonesia: The sinking capital

The people of the coastal city of Jakarta have always lived with the good and bad of the water. The sea delivers food, yet it also brings floods. Now, there are concerns that the Indonesian capital is sinking.

Sea level rise as a result of climate change is only one of the problems. The other is the reality that Jakarta's inhabitants are illegally draining underground aquifers because they often don't have access to public drinking water. As a result, the ground is giving way, dropping up to 25 centimeters a year.

Some 32 million people live in Jakarta and now urban planners have begun to understand the extent of the threat to the city and its population. They're trying to fend off the worst impacts. But can they stop the city from going under?

A film by Michael Wetzel