Jakarta could end up underwater
Jakarta could soon end up underwater, and the Indonesian capital city only has a few years to pull the brakes on the impending disaster. Dubbed the “world’s fastest-sinking city,” Jakarta is ceding around 1-15 cm of its ground each year to rising water levels, according to BBC. Researchers at the Bandung Institute of Technology say that, by 2050, about 95% of North Jakarta will be submerged.
What went wrong? For starters, the overconsumption of groundwater: People are forced to pump water from underground aquifers, which causes the land above it to sink leading to subsidence. Poor planning has exacerbated the problem as lax regulations gave room to individual homeowners and massive shopping mall operators to conduct their own groundwater extractions. As a coastal city, Jakarta is also hit with rising sea levels due to climate change, but authorities are hoping that a USD 40 bn 32 km sea wall built across Jakarta Bay along with 17 artificial islands, will help rescue the sinking city. “It can only ever be an interim measure, it will only buy Jakarta an extra 20-30 years to stop the long-term subsidence,” hydrologist Jan Jaap Brinkman says.