Water as Leverage

Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia

Kota Kita is a Local Lead role in the Water as Leverage program in Semarang, organized by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). The program connects three Asian cities - Semarang, Indonesia; Khulna, Bangladesh; and Chennai, India - and develops innovative urban water projects with local stakeholders.

Water is one of the most challenging and complex risks faced by cities and its residents. The impact of water challenges i.e floods, pollution, water scarcity combined with pressing urban challenges — i.e. rapid urbanisation, growing demand for services, migration pressures, and climate change — could result in catastrophic impacts. Yet the connecting and interdependent strength of water provides us with an opportunity that cannot be ignored — water can be used as leverage for impactful and catalytic change.

The Water as Leverage Program, organized by the Netherland Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl), aims to develop innovative, bankable and implementable design proposals to tackle water-related problems in three different cities in Asia: Semarang, Indonesia; Khulna, Bangladesh; and Chennai, India. The challenge is to match long-term comprehensive urban planning with short term innovative transformations; ambitious climate adaptation plans with bankable projects; the development of more knowledge on water systems with the construction of more resilient cities; research, design and implementation with inclusive urban alliances.

The program started at the end of 2018 and two design teams were assigned to work closely with the Semarang City Government to build the water-resilient strategies for the Central Java capital city: One Resilient and Cascading Semarang Team. Kota Kita acts as a Local Lead in the One Resilient consortium, which includes international multidisciplinary organizations such as One Architecture and Urbanism as Team leads, Deltares, Wetlands International, Universitas Diponegoro, P5, Grobak Hysteria, and Sherwood Engineers.

During the nine months of the Water as Leverage Program, the two design teams developed five strategic programs from upland to coast that tackle pressing water-problem in Semarang including water supply, land subsidence, flooding, and sea-level rise, under one comprehensive and holistic approach. These five programmatic ideas have been presented at the International Seminar hosted by the Mayor of Semarang on March 13th, 2019, alongside a regional audience. In April 2019, the Water as Leverage Program concluded the Phase 2 with a regional workshop in Singapore attended by international financing institutions (IFIs) such as World Bank, ADB, Green Climate Fund (GCF) along with partners and advisory boards 100RC, PfR and OECD.