The AIC Urban Water Learning Alliance launches in Bogor, Indonesia

The AIC Urban Water Learning Alliance was officially launched at the Grand Savero in Bogor on 30 November 2017.


The Alliance connects researchers, leaders, influencers and ‘water champions’ to share their experience and expertise and shape a water sensitive future for the City of Bogor – one with improved liveability, wellbeing, health and resilience for communities in line with Sustainable Development Goals 3, 6 and 11.

Image: UN Sustainable Development Goals numbers 3, 6 and 11. (Credit: UN)

“By harnessing local wisdom from a wide range of groups, innovations and break-through solutions can be conceptualised – ideas that in isolation would prove difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish,” explains Dr Jane Holden, Learning Alliance project leader at Monash University. Alliance members from Bogor include representatives from government, water utilities, developers, industry, funders, NGOs and communities.

“The Learning Alliance,” she says, “is a critical avenue for Urban Water researchers to engage with stakeholders across all sectors, to build capacity for the Water Sensitive Cities (WSC) concept and co-develop water sensitive policy, urban designs and green technology pathways for Bogor Raya”.

The launch event came at the end of an intensive week that included a WSC Masterclass and visioning and benchmarking workshops. Over 120 delegates attended the week’s events and were awarded with certificates of recognition as ‘water champions’ and invited to sign the Water Sensitive City Declaration.

The declaration (see below) was signed by all keynote speakers and Learning Alliance members, who pledged their commitment to establishing the Urban Water Learning Alliance, and to supporting the activities of their fellow water champions in creating pathways for leapfrogging to Water Sensitive City status.

“The commitment of all people, from residents in informal settlements through to the mayor of Bogor, is critical if our communities are to learn more about sustainable water practices,” says Dr Dwi Yuliantoro, Learning Alliance project leader at IPB and MC for the launch. “Together we can improve the provision of clean water, access to sanitation, and alleviate the impact of flooding.”

Keynote speakers discussed the importance of Indonesia and Australia working together to understand how our cities can develop more sustainable water practices. A key goal of the Learning Alliance is to create leapfrogging opportunities to allow Bogor and other Indonesian cities to skip past some evolutionary stages of water management that more developed cities have navigated, straight to becoming the greener, cooler and more resilient cities of the future.

Keynote speakers included:

  • Kevin Evans, AIC director for Indonesia – ‘Australian and Indonesia: Working together to build capacity and develop solutions for urban challenges’
  • Dr Arya Sugiarto, mayor of Bogor – ‘Sistem Air Perkotaan di Kota Hujan Bogor / Urban Water System in Bogor Rain City’
  • Dr Ir. Hj. Syarifah Sofiah, head of Bappenas, Bogor Regency – ‘Cibinong, Kota yang Menghadap Situ / Cibinong Situ Front City’
  • Mr Steven Muljadi, president, Sentul City – ‘Pembangunab Kota Masa Depan berbasis Model WSC / Future City Development based on WSC Models’
  • Prof Herry Suhardiyanto, rektor, IPB – ‘Sistem Penelitian Air secara Terpadu untuk Ketahanan Kota / Integrated Water Research System for Resilient Cities’

Keynote speakers - AIC Learning Alliance Launch

Bogor mayor Dr Arya Sugiarto welcomed the formation of the Alliance, highlighting the increasing water management problems facing Bogor, ‘The Rain City’. “When I was in high school,” he recounted, “there were no floods in Bogor, nor when I was at university, but now whenever there is heavy rain myself and all the district and village heads get anxious. ‘What’s it going to be now? [I ask myself,] Landslides? Floods?’ … The major issue is that we have to improve the way we handle water.”

Dr Syarifah Sofiah from the Bogor Regency Planning Agency (Bappeda) added her own pet name for Bogor, calling it the ‘1000 Lakes City’ and stressing the importance, for Bogor’s economy in particular, of protecting and capitalising on the city’s many lakes. Some of them, she said, had already been removed to make way for residential development and schools. “Regencies are always in competition,” she warned in outlining a business case for Water Sensitive Cities, including “for investors and… for tourists”.

Mr Muljadi, president of Sentul City, a large eco-friendly development in South Bogor, described seeing the benefits of water-sensitive city planning on his trips to Australia: “I have seen in Melbourne and Sydney how water management can shape and provide a certain quality of life that is very important for the people who live there.” He noted also Bogor’s potential to follow suit, stating that it too “has strengths that still remain unpolished, such as its nature and greenery”.

After the keynote addresses, an expert panel moderated by Prof Hadi Susilo Arifin (head of Landscape Architecture at IPB) explored in more detail the importance of a ‘collaborative approach to creating a water sensitive future for Indonesian cities’.

The AIC Urban Water Learning Alliance program of workshops and focus group discussions is continuing throughout 2018, with key insights and recommendations to be disseminated and showcased in November.

The Water Sensitive City Declaration / Deklarasi Kota Ramah Air