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Title: The illusion of solution? : the politics of Jakarta's quest to achieve water security
Author: Octavianti, Thanti
ISNI:       0000 0004 8503 5797
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
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The increasing number of large water infrastructures built or planned worldwide denotes the (re)turn to a hydraulic mission in water management. Infrastructures are pursued mainly for water supply augmentation and flood control, that is, delivering water security for the people especially in packed urban areas. Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, has pressing water issue as the city is experiencing land subsidence. Combined with sea level rise and perennial flooding problem, the city's risk of sinking is extremely high. Following a major flood in 2013, the Government of Indonesia launched the NCICD (National Capital Integrated Coastal Development) plan to close Jakarta Bay with a 32-km length offshore sea wall for flood control defence. The plan also includes 5,100 hectares of land reclamation (located between the coastal line and the seawall), which was said, to fund the seawall construction. Such a megaproject whose total costs is estimated at USD 40 billion will significantly alter the biophysical as well as the social landscape of Jakarta. This thesis investigates the socio-political dynamics behind this megastructure from historical institutionalism and political ecology lenses, in which both anchored on power relations. Framing the overall discussion using 'water security' approach, it asks: How do relations of power drive large infrastructure investments in Jakarta, and how does this contribute and respond to the problem of water security? Data collection primarily included 48 key informant interviews, around 400 newspaper articles and secondary data (archives and policy documents). In order to analyse these diverse data sources, I employed three types of data analyses accordingly: historical analysis for historical data, thematic analysis for interviews and policy documents, and discourse analysis for newspaper articles. This research reveals that NCICD has advanced the infrastructural pathway in Jakarta's flood policy which has been established since the colonial times. NCICD as a contemporary project is, thus, a product of the past. Furthermore, rather than dealing with complex institutional challenges associated with multiple water sectors, the government instead focuses on the seawall, which only deals with the flooding issue as a symptom of sinking, rendering the highly political issue apolitical. Reflecting on the power asymmetries manifested in NCICD and situating them on broader literature on water security, I conclude that the politics of water security, in the context of water hazards, is the politics of fear and in consequently meeting demand for security through the prescription of infrastructure. Fear is built from memories of past floods and ultimately from the construction of future uncertainties, where our knowledge is limited.
Supervisor: Charles, Katrina Sponsor: Jardine Foundation ; University of Oxford ; Indonesian Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Geography