Water Champion

Water Champions initiate or implement water reforms in their chosen field, and are directly involved in improving the water situation in their respective countries.

Tjoek Walujo Subijanto: Blending Corporate Spirit with Public Service
September 2008

By Maria Christina Dueñas Knowledge Management Officer ABOUT THE CHAMPION
Mr. Tjoek Walujo Subijanto is the President Director of the Brantas River Public Corporation or Perum Jasa Tirta I Public Company (PJT1), a government-owned corporation responsible for managing water resources at the Brantas and Bengawan Solo river basins in Indonesia. His first introduction to water resources development came in 1972 as a staff in the Logistics Bureau of the Brantas River Basin Development Project (BRBDP), which was responsible for constructing physical infrastructures for basin development. For the next 2 decades, he moved into different aspects of BRBDP’s operations—from systems analysis to computer management, from canal construction to planning and design of dams and hydropower structures. In 1990, the Indonesian Government established a public corporation mandated to operate, maintain, and manage all the major Brantas River basin infrastructures constructed in the past 3 decades. This corporation was the PJT1, and Mr. Subijanto became the head of its Research and Development (R & D) Bureau in 1992. Heading PJT1’s R & D Bureau was particularly challenging to Pak Tjoek, as Mr. Subijanto is generally called by his staff. The unit was newly established and had the reputation for being the parking area for non-performers. Starting from scratch, Pak Tjoek and his staff worked to build the bureau’s reputation as a think tank, a unit capable of giving tactical advice on basin management issues and of developing new systems and technologies for water resources management. With a lot of learning and innovation, the group turned its reputation around to become one of PJT1’s most strategic units. In 2002, Pak Tjoek was appointed as Director of Operations for Brantas River. In 2004, PJT1 became an active member of the Network of Asian River Basin Organizations (NARBO), a network dedicated to building the capacity of river basin organizations (RBOs) for integrated water resources management. Pak Tjoek became the President Director of the company in 2007. He now also serves as Executive Director of Indonesian NARBO and is a certified RBO peer reviewer for NARBO’s performance benchmarking program.

How is PJT 1 different from other agencies managing river basins in Indonesia? You can categorize river basin organizations (RBOs) in Indonesia into 2 types—either as corporate or public utility. Public-type RBOs are under the supervision of the central or provincial governments. They have an all-encompassing mandate for water resources management in river basins, which includes planning for the river basin, operation and maintenance of water resources facilities, conservation, hydrological monitoring, community empowerment, and more. At the moment, there are 30 RBOs under the central government and 53 RBOs under provincial governments. Corporate-type RBOs, on the other hand, are experiments of sorts. They are the application of Indonesia’s concept of corporatization, which assigns the management of water resources to neutral and professional entities that adopt a combination of public service norms with healthy corporate practices. PJT1 is one of 2RBOs that belong to this group.

What is the mandate of PJT 1? PJT1 was created in 1990 to manage the major river basin infrastructures in the Brantas River and its 39 tributaries. In 2000, its jurisdiction was expanded to include the Bengawan Solo River and its 25 tributaries. Water resources management (WRM) includes managing water quantity and quality, flood control, river environment and watershed management, water infrastructure management, and research and development. Our main functions include all “in-stream” aspects of WRM. In this case, we are authorized to make technical and operational policy decisions on water resources management, e.g. the release of reservoir water for flushing or changes in water allocation during times of shortage. However, we have no policy power regarding basin planning, basin infrastructure development and investment, tariff fixing, and off-stream activities such as water pollution control or watershed management. In these cases, we work with administrative and consultative channels to contribute to decision making and implementation of programs.

As President Director, what do you envision for PJT 1 and the 2 river basins under its jurisdiction? I’d like to see the Brantas and Bengawan Solo river basins become active agents for improving the public welfare and regional economy. At the same time, I want them to become—and remain to be—healthy and sustainable rivers that people simultaneously enjoy and protect. For PJT 1, we’re working to transform it into a world class, corporate type RBO that manages its water resources in a professional, innovative, consultative, and sustainable manner. What are PJT 1’s major challenges today? Over the past 3 decades, we’ve been experiencing intense industrialization, agricultural development, and population growth in the basins. These have serious repercussions that we’re now grappling with. Our most severe problem at the moment is pollution from untreated effluents—mainly from domestic, agricultural, and industrial sources—that drain into the Brantas River. Urban areas, with their lack of sanitation facilities, are the worst hit. Industries are required by law to treat effluents, but the regulatory institutions lack the resources to enforce regulations. Flooding is also a major issue, especially given the basin’s flat slopes, sedimentation, and encroachment on flood plains. So far, we’ve constructed flood control infrastructures to provide protection for return periods of 10 to 50 years. We also worry about erosion and sedimentation because they raise the potential for floods. Volcanic activities of Mt. Semeru and Mt. Kelud contribute significantly to our worries. On the average, Mt. Kelud erupts every 15 years, resulting in high sediment yields in the middle reaches of the Brantas River. Mt. Semeru's continuous deposits, on the other hand, affect the Sengguruh and Sutami reservoirs, decreasing river discharge capacity for carrying high flows. In addition, a growing contributor to erosion/sedimentation is wide-scale deforestation in the upper reaches of the basin. Regrettably, we do not have the authority to enforce laws on water polluters nor illegal loggers. Still, we undertake measures to alleviate the impacts of these problems, for instance, by conducting reservoir dredging, promoting public initiatives on re-greening and reforestation, reducing sheet erosion by terracing, or constructing small-scale centralized domestic wastewater treatment plant in selected urban areas. What are PJT 1’s most significant contributions since its inception in 1990? We’re very proud to say that PJT1 has accomplished a lot since its early days. Just to give you a few examples, we’ve increased cropping intensity, hydropower capacity, raw water supply for domestic and industrial use, and improved the condition of water resources infrastructures.

Beneficiaries Flood Control Irrigation Hydropower Raw water for domestic Raw water for industries Water Resources Infrastructures

Unit Inundated Area Cropping intensity Million kWh/year Million m3/year Million m3/year Condition

1960 1990 2007 60.000 None None ha 0.8/year 1.8/year 2.2/year 170 73 50 910 125 115 fair 1.100 288 153 better

We’ve also increased our revenues, which mostly come from water service fees, from US$1.03 million in 1992 to US$8.6 million in 2007. We attribute this increase to greater utilization of water resources in the region, and we think customer satisfaction is the key ingredient that encourages customers to pay their water service fees. How did you build the organization’s capacity to perform its functions? First and foremost, we strengthened the capacity of our staff by conducting education and training programs on technical and nontechnical subjects. As a general rule, we allot 5% of our personnel corporate budget for these activities. We also nurtured the dedication and commitment of staff by providing incentives, solid working teams, and a working environment conducive to performance improvements. To improve our operations, we continually improve our internal business processes. In 1997, we adopted the Quality Assurance System of ISO 9001:2000. I’m proud to say that Brantas River basin is the first river basin in Indonesia to acquire ISO certification for the design, operation, and maintenance of water resources and infrastructures. To ensure sustainable support from our stakeholders, we also applied ISO’s principles for Good Corporate Governance and Effective Water Governance. To ensure adequate and sustainable budget, we apply the principle of full cost recovery by requiring beneficiaries— such as the state electricity company, domestic water supply companies, and industries—to contribute financially via water service fees. The tariff rate for the fees is decided by the Ministry of Public Works based on PJT1’s proposal.

How did PJT 1’s ISO 9001 certification affect the organization’s performance? We pursued this certification because we wanted to lift our water resources management practices to world-class status. We also wanted to continually upgrade our performance levels and optimize our resource use, have better quality of information and communication, more effective corporate management, and a way to track and improve our employee’s capacity and responsibility. I must say that we got all this and more when we attained our certification. In terms of our daily operations, you can see the results of this certification in many ways, for instance, in the way that our operations are not disrupted by changes in the workforce or by the ease with which stakeholders’ complaints are anticipated and handled. What insights have helped you develop and manage such a big institution? I think the first ingredient is to have dedicated, committed, and motivated staff willing to up the ante continually when it comes to service performance levels. A decision-making process that provides genuine empowerment to staff, such that they develop ownership for the institution, is also a powerful ally. Finally, creating an environment conducive to teamwork, better communication and information exchange, high performance, and innovation would facilitate the speedy delivery of quality outputs and services.

_______________________________ *This article was first published online at ADB's Water for All website in September 2008: http://www.adb.org/Water/champions/subijanto.asp. The Water Champions series was developed to showcase individual leadership and initiative in implementing water sector reforms and good practices in Asia and the Pacific. The champions, representing ADB’s developing member countries, are directly involved in improving the water situation in their respective countries or communities. The series is regularly featured in ADB’s Water for All News, which covers water sector developments in the Asia and Pacific region.

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