The Lucky of Me
Traveling is one of my favorite activities. I have visited some European and Asian countries before and for the next holiday destination I have called some travel agents at the beginning of July 2007 to get information about Japan. I was very excited when, a few days later, I got an assignment to leave for Japan for the personnel exchange program on the Twinning Program between Japan Water Agency (JWA) and Perum Jasa Tirta (PJT, Indonesian NARBO). Certainly, I felt very lucky. It would be a great “holiday” for me: free of charge 30 days stay in Japan!!!
I arrived at Narita airport on 7th august 2007 at around 9 o’clock a.m. Along with my two colleagues and one digital camera, I started my adventure. A big billboard of Yokoso Japan (means Welcome to Japan) was the first picture I took in the airport.
On the same day in the International Affairs Division of JWA Head Quarter Office, we were explained about the time-schedule of our activities
and presented to the office’s members. The warm acceptance they showed to us made me feel like at home.
• Site visits
Out of seven river basins exist in Japan we were scheduled to visit four of them, namely Tone, Kiso, Yodo and Yoshino river basins. There are many objects to see in those areas, but due to limited time, JWA had arranged the following places to visit:
- Gunma Canal Redevelopment, Operation and Maintenance Office (Tone River System):
Visits to canal facilities, office facilties and Land Improvement District Office.
Thick plantation at Naramata Reservoir Area
- Numata Dam Operation and Maintenance Office (Tone River System):
Visits to Yagisawa Dam, Naramata Dam and the Information Center of Tokyo Electric Power Company
- Research Center:
Visit to some hydraulic models and other research facilities
- Tokuyama Dam Construction Office (Kiso River System):
Visit to dam site: explanation on first filling of reservoir
- Nagaragawa Estuary Barrage Operation and Maintenance Office (Kiso River System):
Visit to the barrage site.
- Lake Biwa Operation and Maintenance Office (Yodo River System):
Lake Biwa by boat and visit to water quality monitoring station, Seta Weir, Lake Biwa Museum andinformation exchange between JWA and PJT
drainage facilities (sluice gates and pumping station)
- Kagawa Canal Redevelopment, Operation and Maintenance Office (Yoshino River System):
Visits to embankment site, canal intake site, canal rehabilitation, regulation ponds, environment protection facilities and Kagawa Canal Museum.
• Experience/ information sharing
The experience/ information sharing is conducted in the form of formal presentation (by both sides: JWA and PJT) as well as informal discussion that took place not only in a meeting room but also in the car or train that brought us from one place to another. The discussions moved from the most
serious issues such as the modern IWRM in Japan, water rights, environment protection etc. to the simplest ones e.g. about the food we eat and other things happen in our daily life.
• Other activities
We never stop strolling except when the night came, even on Saturdays and Sundays. It was like there would be no tomorrow. The three of us had the same mission: we had to use time effectively to visit as many places as we could during our stay in Japan . We visited museums, shopping centers, public parks, temples or just walking along small streets with Japanese style houses. Souvenirs hunting were
the most taking time’s activity (we never been egoists: we always think about giving something to our family, colleagues and friends ……..)
What Impressed Me?
Followings are things that leave special impression on me after my 30 days roaming around Japan:
• Green forest and blue water
The beautiful scene of clean water and green trees could be seen not only on the upper areas but also at the lower part of the river basins. Naramata Dam, Yagisawa Dam, Tokuyama Dam and Nagaragawa Estuary Barrage are the examples. Those places show me how nature preservation is particularly
Clear water of Tokuyama Dam
considered in the water resources development in Japan.
• Modern facilities
Most of the project sites/ offices that we visited are equipped with modern facilities (e.g. high technology monitoring and communication system/ data processor). Those facilities make it possible to do the operation and maintenance job more practically, simpler, with less effort and less staff needed.
• Good coordination between interrelated organization
Japan's (JWA's) river basin management system provides
examples of the importance of good coordination between all of the related parties in the whole country (central and local government, JWA, water users). In each river system in Japan there are some different facilities (dams, water intakes, and monitoring stations) which are managed by different organizations.
With smooth coordination between those organizations and with the same mission: put goodness for everyone on the highest priority, the river water could be managed/ controlled (in floods, droughts as well as in normal condition) easily and effectively.
• Public relation tools
PR goals are provision of information to build mutual understanding to attract positive cooperation to support overall company's activities
Among the PR tools that are used in Japan/ JWA, there is one that I found interesting: the use of paper fan to convey information, suggestion etc to the public: low cost and useable (especially in hot weather)
• High working-spirit of the JWA's members (9.00 a.m. - 12.00 p.m. working hours!!!!!!)
Now I'm back to my country, to my house, to my job in PJT I. I'm happy, of course, that I meet again with my family, my colleagues and my friends, but there is one thing that I'd like to tell you all: I have one more happiness because in my age I still have the chance to see another world. Thanks to PJT I and JWA. Thanks to Anton and Nugroho for being a good company.
Natural disasters such as floods, droughts, landslides, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunami, typhoons, hurricanes, cyclones and other extreme weather phenomena have hit Asia in recent years. These disasters have inflicted catastrophic losses to human lives and to the economies of countries of NARBO member organizations.
The NARBO General Meeting in Indonesia last February 2006 has considered the conduct of thematic workshops as one of the important activities of NARBO. Based on the updated NARBO Action Plan of 2006-2007, NARBO carried-out the first of the series of three workshops on the theme "Water-Related Disaster and Its Management in Asian Countries."
The 1st thematic workshop on the aforesaid topic was held from 26 to 29 November, 2007 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia and participated in by 8 countries (Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam). The goal of the workshop is to develop capacity of key organizations for water-related disaster management by (i) providing basic concepts and principles; (ii) sharing country challenges and strategies;
and (iii) formulating an action plan. The River Basin of Yogyakarta, ADB, SDBI, and JWA hosted the event.
On the opening day, Dr. Neil Britton, Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist of the ADB gave a special presentation titled "Sharing ADB's Experience in Disaster Management" while Mr. Hiroyoshi Tanaka, Water Resource Specialist discussed the Man-made Disasters in Japan. The field visits to Mt. Merapi and the famous temples devastated by volcanic eruptions were organized by the Host RBO headed by Mr. Bambang Hargono. Presentations were made in the 3rd and 4th days of the workshop.
Every participant presented a country/river basin situation on water-related disasters that happened for the last 10 years. At the end of every presentation, there were active discussions and some clarifications. There were also exchanges of experiences on how disasters are managed in the respective countries of the participants. It was worth mentioning that the participants had active discussions even beyond or outside of the classroom, which was an indication of the eagerness of each one to learn from each others experiences. Added attraction to
the participants were the presentation of some actual footages of the disaster as they happened that were showed by the tri-media particularly, the television.
*) Laguna Lake Development Authority, Philippine
Current situation and issues related to environmental management, land use planning, inter-organization factors, community-based management including dam maintenance and capacity building concerns were the common concerns identified by the participants for this 1st workshop.
The workshop also included a guided field visit to the important places in Yogyakarta which was affected by major disasters. The participants were informed that the Indonesian Department of Culture and Tourism and the UNESCO and selected international experts in the field of conservation and structural engineering provide technical recommendation for the restoration works and established global partnership for the post-earthquake rehabilitation and cultural heritage. The places are as follows:
+ Mt. Merapi - (Gunung Merapi) - The participants visited the mountain and the Gendol Sabo Dam project which is now being implemented in order (a) to
protect and secure the inhabitants from the threat of lahar/debris flow; (b) to repair and rehabilitate the irrigation facilities damaged by lahar/debris flow; and (c) to conduct investigation, planning, design and execution of volcanic debris control facilities.
+ Sambisari Temple - The host organizer showed to the participants this temple which was built sometime during the end of the 9th century. Additional information provided to the participants was that the farmers in 1966, discovered the temples hidden and buried by volcanic ash and dust, 6 meters below the surface of the surrounding land. The temple, now considered one of the UNESCO World Heritage is undergoing rehabilitation to restore its original state.
+ Kedulan Temple - This superstructure was so amazing. The Hindu temple was discovered buried beneath deposits of mud that had flowed down the southern slopes of Mount Merapi due to volcanic activity. The work of art and crafting of the restoration of the images of goddesses on the outfacing walls of the perimeter that surrounds the central shrine is astonishing and extraordinary.
+ Prambanan Temple - This is the
most famous and magnificent of Central Java's temples or more precisely, complex of temples. The participants witnessed the on-going rehabilitation of the temple / cultural heritage which was severely damaged.
+ Borobudor Temple
- a majestic temple and considered one of the seven wonders of the world and serves as an awe-inspiring testament to the hard work, determination, and faith of its eighth and ninth century creators. It is a representation of the Buddhist concept of the universe and life of Buddha. The monument overlooks a green valley encircled by a ring of mountains.
+ Kasongan Handycraft Centre in Bantul
- The participants also had discussion with some of the farmers and small-scale businessmen producing ceramics at the Bantul District. They shared the experiences
encountered when Mt. Merapi erupted and how it impacted their livelihood, destroyed their houses and damaged the irrigation canals while the participants actively interacted with them and also exchanged some views.
Participants in the thematic workshop
The workshop clearly manifested the great cooperation of the participants in sharing their experiences on water-related disasters in each country. The first workshop identified the current situation and obstacles faced in dealing with the disaster. It is envisioned that in the 2nd workshop the sound practices and risk assessment approaches are presented and a case study of what a good (flood) risk program for the community will be developed for the 3rd workshop.
Finally, in behalf of the participants, we would like to express our appreciation to the hospitality of Serayu-Opa River Basin Office of Yogyakarta lead by Mr. Bambang Hargono and his staff members, Mr. Budi S Wignyosukarto, JWA, NARBO and ADB for support to all the participants and other concerned organizations for their support, hard work and successful conduct of the workshop.
|NARBO Newsletter is produced by the Narbo Secretariat to provide current information about NARBO activities to readers who are interested in IWRM issues specifically in Monsoon ASIA.
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