Why Does Jakarta Need the Giant Sea Wall?

In recent years, Jakarta has been plagued by frequent floods amid peaks in the rainy season as infrastructure and water management is not adequate, resulting in the temporary relocation of tens of thousands of people in January (peak of Indonesia's rainy season). However, the problem is even more complicated. Jakarta is sinking at a rate of between 7.5 and 14 centimeters per year due to deep groundwater extraction in combination with pressure from high-rise buildings in Jakarta, thus jeopardizing the well-being of future generations, or, at least necessitating the migration of more than four million people as the northern part of the city will be gradually submerged by the sea if no immediate action is taken (the total population of Jakarta numbers around ten million people). In fifty years’ time, the sea level is expected to be three to five meters above Jakarta’s street level. By 2025, increased flooding from rivers is expected as most rivers will stop discharging under gravity to the sea.

The National Capital Integrated Coastal Development (NCICD) Masterplan

The NCICD includes the construction of a giant sea wall just northern of the bay in Jakarta as a measure to protect the capital city against floods from sea. Inside this wall large lagoons will be created to buffer outflow from the 13 rivers in Jakarta (a giant pumping reservoir). This giant sea wall will be built in the form of a Garuda (the large mythical bird which is Indonesia's national symbol) and therefore will become an iconic structure (see picture at the top of this webpage). It will take 10 to 15 years before construction of this wall is realized. In the meantime, existing dikes will be strengthened.

In order to make this masterplan more attractive for private investors, the surface of the giant sea wall will become a center of urban development. Private participation is needed as this USD $40 billion project cannot be financed by the Indonesian government alone. Urban development includes upmarket offices and housing as well as low-cost housing, green areas and beaches. The new integrated city will also involve 17 artificial islands, complete with toll roads, a railway, and seaport, and should be able to absorb approximately two million people. As Jakarta is currently overcrowded and its infrastructure inadequate, this masterplan will relieve pressure on the existing city. The length of the giant sea wall may reach 32 kilometers (from the city of Tangerang in the west of Jakarta to Jakarta's Tanjung Priok harbour).

New Priok Port Location Indonesia Investments Jakarta Van der Schaar

Therefore, the two phases of the mega-project are:

A. Strengthen and enhance the existing coastal dikes along 30 kilometers, and construction of 17 artificial islands in the bay of Jakarta. The groundbreaking of this first phase was conducted in October 2014.

B. Giant Sea Wall; a giant dike (32 kilometers-wide) which includes an airport, harbor, toll road, residential area, industrial area, waste treatment, water reservoir, and green areas, on a space of about 4000 hectares.

Involved Parties

The NCICD masterplan is a joint project between the governments of Indonesia and the Netherlands (the feasibility study for the NCICD was largely financed by the Dutch government). The NCICD project is led by a consortium headed by Witteveen+Bos (main contractor) and Grontmij, with subconsultants KuiperCompagnons, Deltares, Ecorys and Triple-A.

The USD $40 billion project will be jointly financed by the Indonesian government, the local Jakarta administration and private investors. How much each party should contribute has not been decided yet. Tenders for the project have not opened yet as the government is still studying the technical aspects of the project (including integration with other projects such as the mass rapid transit and the Jakarta Outer Ring Roads).

Jakarta Propertindo has been appointed to coordinate the reclamation of the 17 artificial islands.