TO AVOID A FLOOD
The significant flooding that hit Jakarta and its surrounds on 1 January 2020 required significant attention from the Government of Indonesia, prompting the National Disaster Management Authority (Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana – BNPB) to immediately conduct a coordination meeting with related parties. During this meeting a significant decision was made to attempt to alleviate flooding in Jakarta and its surrounds. This plan was to utilise Weather Modification Technology – or WMT. The Indonesian Agency for Assessment and Application of Technology (Badan Pengajian dan Penerapan Teknologi – BPPT) had developed a strategy by conducting an analysis of the growth of clouds that cause rain across the Jakarta metropolitan area. These clouds originate from the west and northwest of area, from the Sunda Strait, Lampung and surrounding regions.
On Thursday, January 2, 2020, the BPPT together with the TNI (Indonesian National Armed Forces) undertook preparations of required equipment and rain seedling materials, as well as an aeroplanes including a CASA CN-295 and a Hercules. On the morning of January 3, prediction and monitoring of cloud growth and movement was carried out, with all potential rainclouds moving towards Jakarta to be planted by plane using salt (NaCl) seedlings. Seeding clouds with salt is done to make clouds heavier, therefore causing rain to fall, and doing so in this case before the clouds reached the flooded areas of Jakarta. This aimed to or at least to decrease rain intensity once clouds arrived in the area, as well as reduce and re-distribute rainwater to support the flooded areas. WMT activities are also used for other disaster relief operations, such as putting out forest and land fires, filling reservoirs, and wetting fire-prone peatlands. WMT can also be utilised to increase river elevation for irrigation, so as to increase agricultural production.
Indonesia has implemented reliable WMT activities in overcoming water deficits, floods and fires since 1997. This has also increasingly included the control of flooding through optimal implementation of WMT. It can be utilised in most conditions and weather seasons, and may also be utilised to support national strategic projects and important national activities, by reducing smoke disruption ensuring a location is unobstructed by extreme weather conditions.
Written by : Ina Rachmawati | Source : BNPB publication