Twists and Turns of Floods in the Bengawan Solo River Area

PUBLISHED,- War-wiri floods occurred in various parts of the country. Recently there was a flood along the Bengawan Solo River. Now the Bengawan Solo River is the concern of many people. The lyrics of the Bengawan Solo song by Gesang “Bengawan Solo… Your history… This has always been… Human attention” seems to have come true now. This river is in the spotlight of various groups, including President Joko Widodo who directly asked this incident to his son Gibran Rakabuming who is the Mayor of Solo.

The story of the Bengawan Solo River is so long, as if it is the same length as the river itself which reaches 600 km. This river is the largest river on the island of Java, and drains water from a watershed (DAS) covering an area of ± 16,100 km2, starting from the Sewu Mountains in the west-south of Surakarta, to the Java Sea in the north of Surabaya. The development of natural resources infrastructure in the Bengawan Solo River Basin was initiated in the 18th century by the Dutch Colonial Government.

Problem after problem continues until now. Again, high rainfall has always been the culprit for the floods that have occurred since February 16, 2023. This incident started when the Bengawan Solo River overflowed and lost its ability to accommodate water discharge, after high-intensity rains flushed the upstream area of the Gajah Mungkur Reservoir for several last day. 

Because this flood had such a large and wide-reaching impact, the Head of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) Lt. Gen. Suharyanto stated that the flood emergency response status was in effect in Solo City and Sukoharjo Regency for 14 days. Emergency response status itself has been declared in the two areas starting Friday, 17 February 2023. Meanwhile, the Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) of Central Java Province noted that the areas affected by the floods included Wonogiri Regency, Klaten Regency, Sukoharjo Regency, Surakarta City and Karanganyar regency.

The BPBD of Central Java Province detailed that the Wonogiri Regency area affected was two villages in one sub-district with a total of 248 people affected. Then in Klaten Regency there are eight villages in five affected sub-districts, with a total of 295 refugees. In the Sukoharjo Regency area, there are 13 villages in 3 affected sub-districts. As many as 2,000 people out of the 6,136 affected were forced to flee. Furthermore, in Karanganyar Regency there are 12 villages in 3 affected sub-districts. There were 637 affected residents with a total loss of up to 30 million rupiah.

The Solo City Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) recorded that there were 21,846 people affected by floods in 15 urban villages in Surakarta City. Meanwhile, the BPBD of Central Java Province recorded that 4,440 people had to be evacuated.

The twists and turns of the flood have become a hot topic of discussion. The Bengawan Solo River Basin Center (BBWSBS) and Perum Jasa Tirta (PJT) 1 revealed the causes of the flooding that hit areas in Solo City and Sukoharjo Regency some time ago. Acting Managing Director of PJT 1 Miflan Rantawi said that his party had opened a spillway at the WGM Dam through coordination with BBWSBS, and notified BPBD of the area through which Bengawan Solo would pass. This is in accordance with the guidelines set by the government.

Several major floods have been recorded in the Bengawan Solo River area, including in 1966, 2007, 2017 and this year. A number of facilities for water control were carried out, such as building reservoirs, dams, straightening rivers, and river normalization. Unfortunately flood disasters still occur. 

Maryadi said “The causes of flooding at this time are many changes in land use, climate change, rather a lack of public awareness of the environment such as littering, and many of our farmers planting seasonal crops causing erosion, which has silted up our rivers. Apart from rain .”

water, rain and river actually can not be blamed. Often blaming events that occur naturally becomes a powerful weapon to solve the causes of disasters. The cause of the flood disaster is a long process of human life, starting from the destruction of nature, land conversion, bad habit of disposing of garbage and other policies that degrade nature. (LS)