RDI researcher attended the 7th ASEAN Environmental Engineering Conference
Elisabeth Rianawati, who serves as both the Director of RDI and the Chair of the Waste and Water Management Cluster, actively participated in and presented her research paper during the 7th ASEAN Environmental Engineering Conference (AEEC), which took place at Hotel Centro in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, Philippines, from November 21st to 22nd, 2014. This conference served as an annual gathering for experts from ASEAN countries to collaborate on addressing regional challenges.
The event, hosted by the University of the Philippines-Diliman (UPD), centered around the theme "How Can Communities Be Prepared for Disasters?: The Role of Environmental Engineering in Community Preparedness, Immediate Response, and Environmental Sustainability." Over the course of two days, the conference featured keynote speeches and technical sessions covering various topics, including Wastewater Treatment and Water Pollution, Solid and Hazardous Waste Management, Green and Sustainable Infrastructure Systems, Environmental Systems, Water Quality and Management, GeoEnvironment, Soil Pollution and Remediation, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, Climate Change, and Engineering Education. Notably, the conference invited international experts, including representatives from Japan, the Netherlands, and the Philippines, to share their insights and experiences related to disaster preparedness and mitigation, aligning with the conference theme.
Elisabeth Rianawati's presentation at the conference revolved around her research titled "Can Municipal Biophore Programs Reduce Urban Floods? Case Study: Bandung City." In her presentation, she addressed the recurring issue of annual flooding in Bandung, Indonesia, which has led to severe consequences, including transportation disruptions, frequent inundation of residential areas, and hindrance of industrial activities primarily located in the southern part of the city. The primary cause of these floods is the inability of the catchment area to absorb 95% of rainwater, resulting in water scarcity and the depletion of natural springs in 2000.
In response, the Bandung Local Government initiated the Biophore Program in 2013, aiming to enhance water infiltration and reduce runoff to mitigate flooding. Elisabeth's research aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of this program in reducing urban flooding. She argued that the limited availability of open spaces posed a challenge to the Biophore Program's success and suggested that it should be complemented by rainwater harvesting at the household level to achieve more favorable outcomes. Bandung's government has since been developing this proposed approach to address urban flooding.
Elisabeth's research not only described the implementation of this technology in Bandung city but also detailed its application at the household scale. Her conclusion emphasized that a relatively small investment in household-level rainwater harvesting could prevent potentially devastating yet avoidable disasters, such as urban floods.