Jakarta’s suspended giant sea wall project is to resume

Jakarta is to revive the ambitious reclamation plan to build a 24-km sea wall of 17 artificial islets which was suspended in April after it was discovered that the project may block off sea water needed to cool the Muara Karang power plant, The Straits Times Online reported on Thursday.

The barrier was originally intended to prevent Jakarta from sinking as a result of rising sea level and floods.

The plan, however, now hinges on whether the project’s private developer can resolve concerns over how part of the project may affect the safety of a nearby power plant located at the mouth of Kali Krendang river.

The developer, a subsidiary of Indonesian property giant Agung Podomoro Land, has to submit a proposal to the government, detailing how it plans to resolve the safety issue.

Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar who suspended the project in April said the project could resume in a matter of weeks if the developer meets the government’s conditions.

Chief executive Cosmas Batubara of Agung Podomoro Land’s Pluit City development appears to have the solution to the power plant’s problem . He said Wednesday that he would propose re-engineering the cooling system to ensure that only cool sea water is pumped into the plant.

The alternative is to build a dedicated canal next to the islet to prevent inflowing cool water and outflowing warm water from mixing.

Besides the power plant’s safety issue, the project has been greeted with protests from fishermen who complained that the project has affected their catch. A group of fishermen plans to file a legal challenge against the decision to resume the land reclamation works.