Planning for water supply in Makassar, Indonesia


Map showing Makassar in South Sulawesi Province, IndonesiaCSIRO is helping Makassar, Indonesia, to consider new solutions for maintaining water supply as it faces challenges from high rates of urbanisation, population increase and looming climate change.

The development challenge

As an archipelago country, Indonesia is vulnerable to the impact of climate change. At the national level, Indonesia is very proactive in anticipating the threats of climate change. The country has developed a Strategy and National Action Plan for Addressing Climate Change known as RANPI. However, to successfully implement such an action plan at the local or city level it will require active involvement of regional and city governments. There is limited knowledge available for informing climate adaptation at local and regional scales, and the capacity of local institutions needs to be enhanced to enable them to mainstream adaptation and mitigation responses into local development planning.

Sulawesi is one of seven regions identified for the Indonesian Climate Change Sectoral Roadmap developed by the Indonesian National Planning Agency (BAPPENAS). Makassar, the capital city of the South Sulawesi Province, is the most urbanised city in the eastern part of Indonesia with a population of around 1.4 million in 2013 (BPS Makassar, 2014). It is part of the MAMMINASATA metropolitan region that encompasses Makassar city and three other municipalities (Gowa, Maros and Takalar). Makassar is already struggling to meet the demand for clean water supply, with only 62 per cent of the population having access to mains water supply, which will becoming increasingly challenging with climate change and its subsequent impact.

In developing their new urban water management plan, Makassar city faced critical knowledge gaps relating to how future delivery of water and wastewater services will be impacted by population growth, climate change and other issues. These gaps were limiting the ability of city authorities to plan for growing demand and adapt to a potential decline in rainfall and hence water resources.

Our approach

In partnership with the Hasanuddin University’s (UNHAS) Research Centre for Climate Change Impacts in Eastern Indonesia, CSIRO investigated the current and future water services challenges in the region, and developed new data including projections of local climate and its medium-term impacts on streamflow of three rivers – the region’s major water resources. The analysis showed that temperature has already increased and rainfall patterns have changed, with the dry season rainfall falling by about 36 per cent relative to the long-term average. The streamflow (flow of river water) is projected to decrease, while the rate of soil erosion in the upper catchment will be similar to the present. As a result the current issue of seasonality and high turbidity of the water supply will be likely to persist in the future.

The project team also examined the potential for bulk and clean water supply to meet the urban demand under a range of scenarios based on population projections, water consumption patterns, leakage in distribution, infrastructure upgrade plans, climate options, and so on. The research showed the city’s managers that without additional infrastructure upgrades water shortages will be common from around 2020. The infrastructure upgrades, as outlined in the MAMMINASATA master plan, may only provide short-term water security and further alternatives will need to be considered from around 2040. This means that city water managers need to consider a shift in reliance on large infrastructure alone to solutions that combine infrastructure and preventive measures, such as demand management and behavioural changes.

Finally, the project team worked with local decision makers to understand future implications, introduce total water cycle and integrated water management concepts and to explore potential adaptation options to improve the sustainability of water supply. This resulted in a number of suggestions proposed for further investigation such as ”biopori” – a locally developed technology for groundwater recharge and run-off reduction, upgrade of water treatment plant capacity and water reuse, an education/awareness raising program and, in the long term, the exploration of alternative water supplies from grey water treatment, among others.

The team used a participatory approach to project design and implementation, and had a core focus on capacity building aimed at enabling climate change considerations to be mainstreamed into local planning and adaptation programs in the water sector.

More than 250 staff from government agencies, NGOs and universities participated in project activities over two years. Seven participants from Makassar spent two weeks in Melbourne to undertake training, study tours and interact with Australian scientists, water utilities, government agencies, and practitioners, learning about the Australian experience on adaptation to climate challenges and sustainable water management.

Project achievements

The project has:

  • enhanced understanding of Makassar’s current and future water services and challenges, including:
    • new knowledge of climate and urban development impacts on raw water supply in the greater MAMMINASATA region and on the sustainability of piped water supply in Makassar City
    • new knowledge about stakeholder’s social networks and perceptions of climate change
    • provision of regional climate simulation data for 1971–2100 that can be used for any further study at a scale useful for the local’s decision makers
    • development of modelling tools that can be used for assisting planning activities
  • identified adaptation strategies and options to improve the future water security of the Makassar City. Some of these options are now being implemented in the city, including a pilot project on rainwater harvesting and grey water recycling, and an Environmental Education Park, which will include a climate change module.
  • facilitated Makassar City in mainstreaming climate change information into planning and development initiatives, including:
    • Makassar city revised its water supply Masterplan in order to use the new knowledge created by this project
    • research outputs being used by subsequent development initiatives, such as those conducted by the World Bank to assess the feasibility of investment for new development area in Makassar and by the UNDP-UN Habitat to assess infrastructures vulnerabilities in Makassar
    • facilitated local learning on integrated urban water management principles, its benefits and challenges;  fostered collaborative learning through interactive participation in program activities, and partnership among research providers, government departments, water utilities and community members
  • enhanced the capacity of the regional/local key players to conduct research on climate change, impacts, and adaptation in the water sector. Examples include:
    • UNHAS emerging as a centre for excellence to help local government address climate change adaptation and mitigation issues. UNHAS is also starting to be well known nationally and internationally
    • the Research Centre for Climate Change Impacts in Eastern Indonesia contributing to UNHAS getting an “A” national education accreditation
    • the appointment of the Research Centre for Climate Change Impacts member as the key UNHAS representative in the Indonesia-France Joint Working Group
    • requests from local government for UNHAS to undertake further work
    • the Research Centre growing from 2 to 17 students working on climate change impacts and vulnerabilities assessment, with a waiting list to get in.

Key lessons

  • Without additional infrastructure upgrades, water shortages will be common from around 2020 for areas supplied by the two major water treatment plants.
  • Proposed infrastructure upgrades, as detailed in the MAMMINASATA Masterplan, will only provide short-term security of supply and further investment will be needed. Other alternatives, such as demand management and leakage reduction, need to be considered as part of a suite of long-term measures
  • The high level of stakeholder involvement in this research played a critical role in fostering multiple modes of communication, participation and social learning between researchers and stakeholders. It also ensured a match between the knowledge need and the knowledge produced.
  • Good cooperation among the stakeholders (Australian and local researchers, researchers and end-users) has been established through a number of activities including conducting a specific sub-study for local researchers, training workshops and visit to Melbourne for key researchers and stakeholders.

Project outputs

The project outputs included:

  • Fine-resolution climate change simulation data and projections to inform climate change impact and adaptation assessment at a local scale. This included the development of briefing papers, fact sheets, reports, data and journal papers. Most publications are available in two languages (English and Bahasa Indonesia).
  • Modelling tools to assist scenario planning activities. For example, these tools allow the researchers and stakeholders to examine when and in what conditions the water supply may or may not meet the demand. The tools also allow them to develop multiple adaptation strategies, targeting the local context, and identifying when the risk management measures will be needed.
  • Set of adaptation options and implementation strategies to improve water provision sustainability for the city. This included developing an understanding of Makassar’s current and future challenges/problems associated with water security, as well as assessing the suitability of the Infrastructure Master Plan to meet demand and demonstrating that infrastructure and population are major drivers in water service problems.

Project partners

logo_unhas-slimLogo_pdamLogo_bmkgKomisi Informasi PutuskanLogo-Makassar australian-aid-identifier
  • Hasanuddin University (UNHAS)
  • Makassar local and provincial government agencies – Pusat Pengelolaan Ekoregion Sulawesi Maluku (PPE SUMA)
  • Public Work Agency Makassar City (PU)
  • Makassar Environmental Agency (BLHD)
  • Makassar water utility company (PDAM)
  • Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG)
  • Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)


Final products from this project are complete and available here – in English or Bahasa – for download

Evaluation of project

Synthesis report

The impacts of climate change and urban development on future water security and adaptation options for Makassar City, Indonesia: A synthesis of findings from Climate Adaptation through the Sustainable Urban Development Research Project (SUD)

Description of the project case study

Climate adaptation through sustainable urban development: case study of urban water system in Makassar, Indonesia

Research summaries

Current and future climate of Makassar

Streamflow projections for MAMMINASATA for 2020-2040

Climate change impacts on soil erosion across MAMMINASATA

Stakeholders’ perceptions of climate change and its impact on the urban water system of Makassar, Indonesia

Current and future water supply for Makassar


Context and challenges in urban water and wastewater services for Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia

Modelling water supply and demand for Makassar City

Developing adaptation options to improve future water security in Makassar City

Tools for urban water management and adaptation to climate change

Stakeholder Engagement within the Climate Adapation through Sustainable Urban Development in Makassar, Indonesia, The First Year Report

Scientific publications

Kirono DGC. 2015. How Can Research Assist Water Sector Adaptation in Makassar City, Indonesia?, a case study for the UCCRN Second Assessment Report on Climate Change and Cities (ARC3-2). Accepted for publication in late 2015.

Kirono DGC, Larson S, Tjandraatmadja G, Leitch A, Neumann L, Maheepala S, Barkey R, Achmad A, Selintung M. 2014. Adapting to climate change through urban water management: a participatory case study in Indonesia, Regional Environmental Change, 14, 355-367. Doi 10.1007/s10113-013-0498-3

Larson S, Alexander KA, Djalante R, Kirono DGC. 2013. The added value of understanding informal social networks in an adaptive capacity assessment: Explorations in the context of urban water management system of Makassar City, Indonesia, Water Resources Management, 27, 4425-4441

Neumann L, Tjandraatmadja G, Kirono D, Selintung M. 2013. Integrated assessment of future water security: the case of Makassar, Indonesia, In Piantadosi, J., Anderssen, R.S. and Boland J. (eds) MODSIM2013, 20th International Congress on Modelling and Simulation. Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand, December 2013, pp. 2506–2512. ISBN: 978-0-9872143-3-1.

Tjandraatmadja G, Kirono DGC, Neumann L, Larson S, Stone-Jovicich S, Barkey RA, Amran A, Selintung M. 2013. Assessing urban water security and climate change adaptation in Makassar, Indonesia, In Piantadosi, J., Anderssen, R.S. and Boland J. (eds) MODSIM2013, 20th International Congress on Modelling and Simulation. Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand, December 2013, pp. 2506–2512. ISBN: 978-0-9872143-3-1.

Kirono DGC. 2013. Improving future water security in Makassar City, Indonesia. A case study included in ADPC. 2013. Disaster Risk Management into Climate Change Adaptation. Disaster Risk Management Practitioner’s handbook Series. Bangkok.

Kirono DGC, Tjandraatmadja. 2014. Postcard from Indonesia, Water : Journal of the Australian Water Association, vol. 40, no. 7, : 16.