The Citarum River is the largest and longest river in West Java Province. It originates in its upper region in Mount Wayang in Bandung District and travels for 297 km until it reaches its mouth in Tanjung, Karawang District. The river is essential for the social and economic life of the people, especially those in West Java and the capital Jakarta. In addition to helping the provision of water source for drinking water supplies, agricultural irrigation systems, fisheries, electricity generation through hydropower, the river is the main water supplier for industrial productions. The condition of environment and river water quality in the Citarum has continued to deteriorate over the last twenty years. In this period the population, settlements and industrial activities in the river basin have grown rapidly.

The Citarum River Basin management does not only cover its hydrologic basin, but it also includes a number of smaller river basins to the east and west and all of the tributaries of the Citarum River. These water resources benefit not only communities living within the river basin but also Jakarta residents who rely on water source supplied by the river via West Tarum Canal.  

There has been many reports and publications on current issues related to water resources management in Citarum River Basin. Some of the key issues have been documented in a number of reports published over the last decade. Numerous issues have been successfully identified and they are found in various areas, including extremely poor water quality, deforestation and degradation in upper catchment area, groundwater exploitation and issues related to the operation and maintenance of water infrastructure. This brings a serious social and economic consequence to communities in Citarum River Basin.

The process for the development of the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), which is taken by using an approach in the form of a roadmap to solve the Citarum River Basin issues, follows the methodology of strategic planning.  

Basically, the approach is used to answer these three following questions:

  • Where are we now (that is, what are the existing problems/issues)?
  • Where do we want to go (with water resources management in Citarum River Basin)?
  • How can we reach our goal that we all agreed on? the "road/route" we need to take)?