The Agreement of Maintaining Teunom DAS

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By; Dewa Gumay

WATER constitutes as public goods and it has an open access for the people. Human beings have their fundamental right to obtain the water. It can be understood because there are social, cultural, ecological and even religious values in conservation and exploitation of water. Those values are embedded in one group of people that inhabits a region who takes advantages of water source that come from river. In Aceh tradition community context, this group of people is known better as kemukiman or residency and headed by an Imum Mukim or a leader of residence.

As the follow-up, in 16-21 of July 2007, the Imum Mukim in Pidie and Aceh Jaya regency did an observation and sat together or in Aceh community tradition known as “Duek Pakat” to respond all sorts of cases caused by the overflow of Daerah Aliran Sungai (DAS) or River Basin in Teunom. By having attention to the complexity of the problem in upper and lower courses of Teunom DAS, Mukim as one of institution that in charge in natural resources management of their own territories is considered necessarily to do direct observation to upper and lower courses of Teunom DAS. “Overflow incident in Teunom subdistrict Aceh Jaya is related to the forest damage in Pidie area which is the upper course of Teunom DAS,” Anwar Ibrahim, the leader of Aceh Jaya Mukim Alliance said. “It must have a collective effort between Pidie regency and Aceh Jaya regency communities to respond the various problems occurred in Teunom DAS and to manage the forest wisely,” Anwar explained.

It has to be admitted that the water supply that cause disaster is related to the surrounding forest management. The damaged forest will cause river function disorder, damaged soil and a huge cost in undertaking nature disaster such as overflow, soil erosion, aridity and sedimentation. These problems are happened and tend to be a seasonal problem in Teunom which identically known as “Flood Patron”. The flood occurred in this area is related to the reduction of forest cover around Teunom DAS border, the largest water catchments area in Ulu Masen forest which is the upper course is in Pidie regency and the lower course is in Teunom subdistrict, Aceh Jaya regency.

Teunom DAS and the Need of Water

Daerah Aliran Sungai (DAS) or River Basin is a geography term for river, creek and the affected soil area. The river basin can be huge, for instance Teunom river basin that cover almost a third area of Ulu Masen forest. It means that more than a third area of Ulu Masen is streamed by Teunom River and its creeks.

River is a natural path of water. The rain that fall down to the earth usually flows through the river to the sea or a large puddle such as lake. River consist of some parts, it begins from spring that flow to the creek. Some creeks will stick together forming a main river. The water stream is usually surrounded by a channel with the edge in the right and the left side. In the end of the river where it meets up the sea is known as estuary.

The biggest advantage of a river constitute as the rain and waste banishment channel. In addition, it is actually potential to be a water tour object. At this moment, there are approximately 17 DAS in Ulu masen whereas in Indonesia, there are 5.950 DAS. Based on the water supply, the river is divided into permanent river, periodic river, intermittent river and ephemeral river.

The majority of Acehnese people know about Teunom DAS whether from its name only or knowing about the river itself. Moreover, if the seasonal flood occurred, there is a lot of news release about this river that has 261.546 hectares in width. This largest river in Ulu Masen forest area irrigates four regencies in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam province i.e. West Aceh, Great Aceh, Aceh Jaya and Pidie. However, almost 97 percent of the area of this river is located in Aceh Jaya and Pidie regency. So practically, the biggest impact of the damage in this river is experienced by the communities in these two regencies.

The persistence of the forest cover has an effect on the water supply for household consumption. Various results of researches show that the water source of household consumption, 83 percent of it comes from well and spring or it is about 709.489 families from 858.821 families in NAD province. Meanwhile, 89.45 percent of communities in Ulu Masen forest area in five regencies i.e. Great Aceh, Aceh Jaya, West Aceh, Pidie and Pidie Jaya, still depend the water source on well and spring. In detail, about 182.159 families from 203.638 families in five regencies depend on forest cover as water catchments area. (The division of Communication FFI-AP 2007, processed from SPAN data).

The Local agreement “Duek Pakat” of Teunom DAS

The Fauna & Flora International Aceh Program, Imum Mukim in Pidie and Aceh Jaya regencies and some journalists has performed an outreach direct observation to monitor closely the condition of Teunom DAS. The observation was focused on the upper course in Geumpang subdistrict and the lower course in Sarah Raya. For the upper course area, Tang-Tang Lake at 750 altitudes (heights above sea level) was chosen as the water catchments area. “The water of Tang-Tang Lake also flow to Teunom River, so it can be imagined if the water in this lake overflow, there will be a massive flood in the lower course of this lake,” M.Sabi Basyah, Imum Mukim of Geumpang said. “What has happened these days such as flood, it is caused by illegal logging done by human. So it is the consequence.” He ended it peevishly.

Furthermore, Tgk. Syamsuddin, Imum Mukim of Sarah Raya asked the group to have a look straightly to the lower course area in Teunom River precisely in Sarah Raya residency that can be achieved by crossing the river. “Take a look at the color of water in Teunom River! It is really muddy now, it was not like this before,” Tgk.Syamsuddin explained while pointing the river. Teunom River has a high muddiness level caused by the erosion of riverbank that eroded by high speed of water flow.

Teunom River has changed a lot. That is what Muhibuddin, the secretary of Aceh Jaya Mukim Alliance, also feels. “About five years ago, if the flood occurred, my village would be inundated at the most half meter and it was hold up for only two days,” The Secretary of Mukim Alliance explained while remembering some flood incident that almost comes annually. Now, the condition of Teunom River is really changed and not only Teunom River but also almost all rivers in Aceh. If flood occurred in Teunom River, the width of the flooded area reaches 1000 hectares with 0.6 up to 1.2 in height and start to be subsided in 3 until 7 days. “The alteration of Teunom River has been really apprehensive,” Muhibuddin added. He also hopes that the parties who responsible and concerned about this problem to discover the way-out.

Based on direct observation in upper course area in Pidie regency and lower course area in Aceh Jaya regency that performed in Meulaboh in 20 of October 2007, the Imum Mukim, Panglima Uteun or Forest Leader, Panglima Krueng or River Leader, Kejruen Blang or Agriculture Leader and Aceh Jaya Mukim Alliance Board got to the point of conclusion. Teunom DAS need to be protected for the sake of conservation of the environment service that the Teunom River gives to the community in upper course area i.e. Geumpang, Tangse and Mane subdistrict as well as Teunom in lower course area.

There is some beneficial consideration of Teunom DAS conservation such as the residency and agriculture area is avoided from flood and erosion. Besides, Teunom DAS is useful for agriculture supervision in this case the irrigation process. It is also useful as transportation means, as the water source for every day need and as the place for fish proliferation. Finally yet importantly, APBN budget is not expended for funding annual flood impact.

On the contrary, the damage in Teunom DAS will result in disadvantages such as the lost of agriculture crop caused by the flood-soaked field, the victim from human and livestock as well as the soaked community residency area. In addition, the economic matter of community is not working properly, the lost contact among the regencies because of the broken street caused by flood, the lost of the fish proliferation place, the silting up of river and the water crisis caused by the dryness.

The result of this agreement consists of 12 points and has been signed by 17 community personages who represent all sorts of regency’s elements of Aceh Jaya Mukim Alliance board. They are M. Sabi Basyah, Imum Mukim of Bangkeh Geumpang subdistrict, H.M. Daud Amin, Imum Mukim of Layan, Tangse subdistrict, Tgk. M. Adam, Imum Mukim of Tanjung Bungong, Tangse subdistrict, M. Risyad, Imum Mukim of Pulo Mesjid, Tangse, T.M. Yunus, Imum Mukim of Beungga, Tangse, M. Jalil, Imum Mukim of Lutueng, Mane subdistrict, T.Beransah, Kejruen Blang Geumpang subdistrict, Abdul Samad, Imum Mukim of Paya Baro, Teunom, Syamsarif A.R, Imum Mukim of Keude Teunom, Teunom, Tgk. Syamsuddin, Imum Mukim of Sarah Raya, Teunom, K. Ahmad Ibrahim, Imum Mukim of Pasi Teubee, Teunom, T.Adian, Panglima Uteun of Sarah Raya, Teunom, Kuddy, Panglima Krueng of Sarah Raya Teunom, Jamaluddin. A, Sekkim of Paya Baro Teunom, Drs. Anwar Ibrahim, the leader of Aceh Jaya Mukim Alliance, Ismailis, S.Ag, the Secretary of Aceh Jaya Mukim Alliance, and Drs. Muhibuddin, Vise Secretary of Aceh Jaya Mukim Alliance. []

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