PLTA Cirata’s Strategy to Safeguard Water Resources and Community Well-being

In addition to ensuring water security, the Cirata hydroelectric power plant (PLTA) in West Java is also striving to optimize the utilization of alternative resources to support the livelihoods of local communities.

Reyhan Fernanda Fajarihza

16 Mei 2024 - 20.13
PLTA Cirata’s Strategy to Safeguard Water Resources and Community Well-being

PLTA Cirata staff monitoring water discharge from the Cirata Hydroelectric Power Plant's Dam Command Center tower / Bisnis-Muhammad Olga

Bisnis, PURWAKARTA – For over three decades, the Cirata Dam has served the residents of Purwakarta Regency, West Bandung Regency, and Cianjur Regency. Beyond its role in generating electrical power, this dam sustains livelihoods for the local population.

With a capacity of 1,008 MW, the Cirata Hydroelectric Power Plant (PLTA) also functions as a peaker for the electricity interconnection system serving Java, Madura, and Bali.

Recognizing the significance of its role, the Operations Manager of Cirata PLTA Prihanto Budi emphasized the necessity for ongoing adaptation to evolving circumstances, including addressing emerging challenges. This adaptability is crucial, particularly concerning the functions of irrigation and flood control within the Citarum watershed.

"Looking at the dam’s primary functions, the main focus is on flood control and irrigation. That is to maintain water availability, particularly to manage prolonged dry seasons," Prihanto told Bisnis Indonesia Jelajah Tirta Nusantara 2024 Team at the PLN NP UP Cirata Office in Purwakarta Regency on Monday (13/5/2024).

He noted that Cirata PLTA is not alone in fulfilling this task, as there are two other reservoirs situated along the Citarum watershed: the Saguling PLTA in West Bandung Regency and the Jatiluhur PLTA in Purwakarta Regency.

The three PLTAs are part of an integrated cascade system, with the Saguling PLTA positioned at the highest level (upstream) and the Jatiluhur PLTA located at the lowest position (downstream). Essential matters such as regulating water discharge are regularly discussed among the three dam managers.

"We coordinate every month with the three reservoir managers, in collaboration with the Citarum BBWS [River Basin Center], because it is related to the cascading model. The water discharge from Saguling, Cirata, and Jatiluhur is utilized to generate electrical energy, so the output needs to be regulated accordingly," Prihanto added.


In addition to managing daily operations, coordination is also crucial to anticipate potential crises. Prihanto cited the recent extreme weather phenomenon, El Niño, which affected Indonesia.

He noted that in the coming years, such extreme weather phenomena may occur on a 3-4 year cycle. To address this, his team regularly collaborates with the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) and the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) to provide technical input and strategic planning.

"In our management meetings for the three dams, BMKG stakeholders participate as observers of weather forecasts. We have implemented weather modification technology (TMC) in collaboration with BRIN, utilizing both aircraft and ground-based generators (GBG),” Prihanto explained.

The GBG method, as recorded by Bisnis, employs flare media containing cloud-seeding components. The goal is to modify cloud conditions to enhance rainfall and augment the water input stored in the dam.

Prihanto assures that even if the water level surpasses normal limits, it will be managed efficiently to generate electrical energy. This is facilitated by the Cirata PLTA’s warning system, which is based on water level conditions.

"Through communication with P2B (Load Management Center), we ensure there's never excess water or wastage. When we operate one unit [generator], the outflow reaches 123 cubic meters per second," he elaborated.

Prihanto highlighted that the operation of the Cirata PLTA aligns with the government's net zero emission target. He emphasized that hydropower can make a significant contribution with minimal production costs.

Cirata Hydroelectric Power Plant staff monitor water flow from the Dam Command Center tower of the Cirata Hydroelectric Power Plant./Bisnis-Muhammad Olga


Ultimately, the initiatives undertaken by the Cirata PLTA benefit the local community. Prihanto assures that his team prioritizes maintaining water quality by conducting regular checks through independent laboratories every quarter, ensuring that the water remains within safe parameters.

Additionally, efforts to mitigate pest infestations, such as water hyacinth, are regularly carried out. The plant collaborates with the dam team and the Environmental Service to collect water hyacinth, which can accumulate in tons daily.

Prihanto also highlights the challenge of controlling floating net cages (KJA) used by local communities for fish cultivation. To address this issue, collaboration with Sector 12 Citarum Harum has been initiated to regulate KJAs that exceed their permitted capacity according to the governor's regulations. This proactive approach aims to prevent potential impacts on water quality due to chemicals from fish feed used in these cages.

To address this issue, Prihanto's team has implemented a solution by dividing the Cirata Dam into two zones: the danger zone and the activity zone. To demarcate the boundary between these zones, trash booms or floating barriers have been installed in the section of the reservoir near Cianjur Regency.

“The areas before the trash boom have been designated as community activity zones, where floating net cages are permitted for fishing activities,” Prihanto concluded.

Cek Berita dan Artikel yang lain di Google News dan WA Channel
Editor: Ibeth Nurbaiti

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