Governance deficit in Jakarta, Indonesia is often associated to its pressing issues of too much, too little, and too dirty water. Although flood has become an important political issue and the government is pushing a landscape change in the riverbank areas, the public policy in Jakarta has yet to comprehend the complex linkages between the gap in water provisioning and flooding.
Flood is one major issue that has affected Jakarta since as early as 1872. Subsequently, major flood events occurred with the most recent being in 2015. To solve this problem, the government has implemented several policies, with the most recent one named as “Normalisasi.” This policy focuses on increasing the flow capacity of the river to prevent it from overflowing during heavy rain events. Under this policy, the government claims eviction of informal settlements from the riverbank areas; widening rivers and canals; and dredging the river beds. Many scholars have criticized the overly technocratic framing of this policy, its covert agenda for attracting investments in infrastructure development in catchment areas, lack of empathy towards informal settlers, along with lack of vision for an inclusive and resilient socio-hydrological system.
This study uses system dynamics modeling to illustrate the interplay of social and hydrogeomorphological factors leading to Jakarta’s vulnerability to flooding and to evaluate the policy response of Normalisasi against this vulnerability and future risk scenarios. The model is further used to test and compare two categories of policy strategies of increasing dredging efficacy and an integrated waterscape policy. Though the former seemed cost-efficient in short term and less complex in terms of governance, the latter will help in long-term resilience as it considers the Jakarta flooding issue more holistically with future climate risks. However, implementation of such an integrated waterscape policy requires the institutionalization of polycentric governance and also needs a boundary organization to increase participation of diverse actors across governance levels.