Speaker: Ms. Wiwik Dharmiasih
Subak is a traditional irrigation and water management system that has existed for over a thousand years in Bali as an autonomous locally rooted institution. This unique system controls water allocation and resources distribution of farming resources, and is most commonly associated with the expansive rice terraces featured on travel brochures for “The Island of the Gods.” In addition, subak represents Bali’s Tri Hita Karana, an islandwide philosophy rooted in maintaining balance and harmony between people, nature, and the spiritual realm. However, increasing demand for water and land in Bali due to the growing tourism industry has threatened the existence of the subak system. By the early 2000s, concerted efforts to protect the subak by the Indonesian national government and Bali province resulted in its nomination as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Despite its designation in 2012, the subak system continues to face tourism and development pressures. In this presentation, I will describe local perspectives on protecting the subak within the World Heritage Site and the continued challenges to the community. I will focus on the changing institutions of cultural and state-based institutions, tensions between conservation and development, and the impacts on water.