Bali tourism water abstraction / Subak system

For my Thirsty Cities research I joined a Subak and bird walk with Wayan Sumadi. It turns out that the Subak system and it's farmers that manage and support it suffer greatly from periods of unprecedented drought. The water stress is amplified due to extreme water abstraction for the tourism industry.

Historical Subak System

As water rich as Bali may look to the outsider, Bali had been suffering from unprecedented droughts amplified by the extreme groundwater abstraction for the tourist industry. The water stress affects farmers and their vulnerable local communities hardest. During the excursion local nature expert Wayan Sumadi showed us how the ancient Subak (irrigation) system is being undermined as it does no longer provide enough water for the rice farmers. Below you can read more about the Subak system.

Tourism related water stress

The tourism is literary sucking the island dry. 65 percent of the island’s groundwater is poured into the tourism industry, drying up 260 out of more than 400 Balinese rivers. Bali and its inhabitants rely heavily on the tourism industry, making it extremely difficult to tackle and advocate for a ban on groundwater abstraction¬†for tourist accommodations.

In The Asean Post article below you can read more about the impact of tourism on the water supply of Bali.