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Kedung Ombo dam, Indonesia


The Kedung Ombo dam is one of five dams planned within the Jratunseluna River Basin Development. The plans started to be conceived in 1969, under the authoritarian regime of Suharto in Indonesia and with a loan from the World Bank of US$ 156 Million.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Kedung Ombo dam, Indonesia
Location of conflict:Kedung Ombo
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Land acquisition conflicts
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

According to the World Bank: "The main objectives of the Kedung Ombo Multipurpose Dam and Irrigation Project are to increase food production, stimulate employment, control damaging floods, supplement water supplies, generate additional power, and improve water management. The project includes: (a) construction of the Kedung Ombo Dam, appurtenant structures, diversion works, a hydroelectric power and associated transmission line, and three micro-hydroelectric power plants, and associated transmission lines; (b) improving existing irrigation and constructing two new irrigation systems; (c) establishing a flood control warning and water monitoring system for the dam and irrigation operations; and (d) provision of technical assistance for: (i) training in dam construction and safety inspection and in reservoir operation; (ii) design of irrigation works; (iii) surveys for updating classification of land for tax purposes to improve cost recovery; (iv) surveys for monitoring resettlement and compensation payments; and (v) studies for soil and water conservation"

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Level of Investment for the conflictive project281,000,000 (WB commitment: US$ 156.00 million)
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:5400 families (about 27,000 people)
Start of the conflict:1982
Relevant government actors:Dutch Government
International and Finance InstitutionsEuropean Economic Community
Export-Import Bank Japan from Japan
The World Bank (WB) from United States of America
US Agency for International Development (USAID)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Indonesian Institute for Legal Aid (YLBHI), Indonesian Environment Forum (WAHLI), Yogya NGO Forum (Yogyakarta), Netherlands Organization for International Development Cooperation
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Religious groups
Local Catholic priest, Father Mangoen Wijaya, did efforts to help impacted communities but his activity was stopped by the government.
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Criminalization of activists
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Violent targeting of activists
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The decision of the Supreme Court was cancelled by a political authority and neither proper compensation nor fair rehabilitation has been delivered to the affected people.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Environmental Management Act (Law 4/1982)

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Fearnside, P.M. 1997. Transmigration in Indonesia: Lessons from its environmental and social impacts. Environmental Management 21(4): 553-570
[click to view]

PhD thesis: "Rhetoric and Reality in the World Bank’’s Relations with NGOs: an Indonesian Case Study", Bernadette Whitelum

thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of the Australian National University

Case study at p. 274
[click to view]

Indonesia in the Soeharto Years: Issues, Incidents and Images
[click to view]

Damning the Dams in Indonesia: A Test of Competing Perspectives

G Aditjondro, D Kowalewski - Asian Survey, 1994 - JSTOR
[click to view]

Augustinus Rumansara, "Indonesia, the struggle of the People in Kedung Ombo", in "The Struggle for Accountability", edited by Jonathan A. Fox and L. David Brown, MIT
[click to view]

World Bank: Kedung Ombo Multipurpose Dam and Irrigation Project
[click to view]

FIVAS, court cases against dams
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Daniela Del Bene
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1180
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