A Double-Edged Sword: Covid-19 and Water Remunicipalisation Jakarta

- 4 March 2020

Trade topics: COVID 19

Jakarta has emerged as the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak in Indonesia. While handwashing has been promoted as the most effective preventive measure, Jakarta’s unequal water governance has made it difficult for the urban poor to access adequate water supplies. Critics of Jakarta’s water privatization have long argued that remunicipalization is the best way to address these inequities, and the Covid-19 crisis has added momentum to this ongoing struggle. However, this paper finds that Covid-19 has the potential to be a double-edged sword for Jakarta’s remunicipalization process. While increasing bottom-up pressure for water remunicipalization, the social and economic impacts of the Covid-19 crisis have allowed the national government and international development agencies to promote privatization. As a result, the future of Jakarta’s remunicipalization remains uncertain.