Paul Truong

REPORT FROM DR. PAUL TRUONG, ADB PDA APPROVED CONSULTANT, APPOINTED BY THE “EA” TO ADVISE AND PROVIDE DESIGN CONCEPTS FOR THE PDA IN SELECTED LOCATIONS FOR APPLICATION OF VETIVER SYSTEM IN THE CITARUM RIVER BASIN

Download file: INO-200803-Field-report  

1. Introduction

This report details the implementation phase of the following three pilot/demonstration sites:

  • Upper Citarum River Basin
  • Septic Tank Site on the Bank of the Citarum River at Desa Ranlamanyar, Kec. Bale Endah
  • Citarum River Flat Nursery Site at Desa Andir, Kec. Bale Endah

Please read this report in conjunction with the attached PowerPoint Presentations (converted to pdf format) titled Vetiver System for Crop Production Improvement (with the emphases on soil erosion and sediment control and crop protection) and Vetiver System for the Treatment and Disposal of Contaminated Water and Land (Special Reference to Domestic and Municipal Wastewater Treatment) by Dr Paul Truong.

2. Site Inspection at Upper Citarum Catchment

The agriculture production of the Upper Citarum Citarum River Basin relies almost entirely on earthen terraces, which are either unprotected or inadequately protected by any erosion control measures. Therefore they are highly erodible and very vulnerable to collapsing during the wet season. The maintenance of these steep and unprotected terraces is very costly, which often requires reconstruction at least every six months.

To make the matter even worse, the common local practice is to plant root crops such as cassava or sweet potato on the edge of the terraces. Cassava is known to be the most erosive crop on sloping land, as when harvested the disturbed soil is most vulnerable to erosion.

 

Once a year the Cassava crop is harvested and the harvest practically destroys the terrace batter, which often left untouched resulting in extreme erosion.

If the eroded sediment is not retained within the field, it will be washed down the slopes to the stream and eventually the Citarum River. The sediment will not only silt up the streams
and reservoirs a long the way, it will also bring with it nutrients and agro-chemicals used for crop production. This is the main source of non point pollution of the basin.

3. Septic Site on the Bank of the Citarum River at Desa Ranlamanyar, Kec. Bale Endah

As pointed out in the previous report, a part of the effluent from the septic tank discharged directly to the river and some were diverted to irrigate the vegetable crops growing on the bank. The planting site was fully farmed and it is expected to be cleared of all crops and vegetation before vetiver planting.

4. Site Inspection at the Citarum River Flat Nursery Site at Desa Andir, Kec. Bale Endah

A river flat approximately 20m wide and 100m long was selected for nursery establishment. This site is excellent for demonstration purpose as it is near and easily visible from the bridge near by.

 

5. Presentation Seminars

A PowerPoint presentation entitled Vetiver System for Crop Production Improvement was conducted in the morning. This title was chosen to attract the mainly farming communities because farmers are more interested on the productivity of their land rather than soil conservation per se, but the emphasis was on soil erosion and sediment control and crop protection.

The presentation showed the special features of vetiver grass and how the Vetiver System, when applied correctly, is the most effective, low cost and environmentally friendly method of soil and water conservation and sediment control. Examples of successful applications in Australia and several countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America were presented and discussed. To draw the local interest, photos of a selected number of sites taken on the previous day site visit, were used to demonstrate how the Vetiver System will be implemented on their lands. In addition to these measures, the beneficial effect of vetiver planting in protecting some crops from insect pests received great interest from the participants.

In the afternoon a second PowerPoint presentation entitled Vetiver System for the Treatment and Disposal of Contaminated Water and Land was conducted, with special reference to domestic and municipal sewage effluent treatment and disposal.

The presentation showed the special features of vetiver grass and how the Vetiver System, when applied correctly, is the most effective, low cost and environmentally friendly method of treatment and disposal of polluted water, under domestic, municipal and industrial context. Examples of successful applications in Australia and several countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America were presented and discussed. To draw the local interest, Indonesian case studies of sewage effluent disposal scheme in Banda Aceh and Bali were used to demonstrate how the Vetiver System will be implemented on their sites.

6. Layout Design and Planting Demonstration at the Upper Citarum Site

The overall objectives of the Citarum River Basin Vetiver Project is to coordinate and empower stakeholders and NGO’s through transfer of appropriate vetiver technology within an initial period of six months and the goals of wider replication over a longer period to: control soil erosion, reduce sedimentation, protect natural resources and introduce sustainable upland farming systems that will improve livelihoods and increase income.

The aims of this pilot implementation phase are to incorporate the soil erosion and sediment control measures into the local farming practices. This involved:

  • Stabilising the earthen terraces, waterways and drainage channels
  • Minimising the movement of eroded materials from the field.

7. Layout Design and Planting Demonstration at the Septic Tank Site on the Bank of the Citarum River at Desa Ranlamanyar, Kec. Bale Endah

This site is located at the outlet of the community septic tank on the bank of the river. It is currently planted and cropped by local people. The vegetable crop was removed before planting started.

7.1 The objectives of this pilot site:

  • Firstly to demonstrate the ability of vetiver grass as highly efficient in absorbing the sewage effluent discharged from the septic tank
  • Secondly to show that vetiver can be used concurrently for erosion control of the steep river bank along the river. This erosion is the source of sediment deposited along the river at Desa Andir, Kec. Bale Endah
  • Thirdly to demonstrate vetiver grass as a perennial crop, providing permanent and continuous pollution control. In contrast to planting crops such as maize, which needs to be replanting twice a year, and providing no pollution and erosion control measures between cropping cycle.

7.2 Planting layout:

Planting in rows parallel to the bank on at least 3 terraces at density of 8-10 plants/m2. Planting will also be done on the “cliff face” for erosion and pollution controls. The last row was planted on the high water mark of the river. An area of approximately 800m2 will be planted with vetiver grass. According to the original proposal, the modified MEDLI model estimated that this area is sufficient to treat effluent discharge from 100 households. However at the time of planting 150 households use this community septic tank and the number is increasing. Therefore the final outcome may not be as good as planned originally.

 

 

7.3 Monitoring points

Two sets of monitoring bores will be installed to monitor the quality of the effluent and to demonstrate the effectiveness of VS in disposing the sewage effluent. Each set consists of three bores running down the bank batter to the water edge.

 

8. Layout Design and Planting Demonstration at the Citarum River Flat Nursery Site Desa Andir, Kec. Bale Endah

This site is located on an alluvial flat opposite the confluence of Cisangku River, a small creek running into the river.

8.1 Objectives:

  • Firstly to demonstrate to ability of vetiver grass growing under the highly polluted conditions of the river
  • Secondly to show that vetiver can survive under the annual flooding and withstanding the strong current flow
  • Thirdly, as a nursery to provide planting materials for future plantings

8.2 Planting layout:

Planting will be done in two directions:

  • Rows planted parallel to the flow at 5m interval and at density of 6-8 plants/m. The first row will be on the high water mark of the river to catch rubbish coming down to the river and the last row on the water edge at planting time
  • Cross rows planted at approximately 100 degrees from the flow direction. This is designed to catch plastic bags and other coarse materials from the flow and push them up to the bank for easier collection.

 8.3 Monitoring
Due to the nature of the site, no direct effect of VS on water quality can be monitored. However indirect proof can be demonstrated by monitoring the growth and biomass production of the vetiver planting. Chemical analyses of the root and shoot biomass will indicate the removal potential of nutrients such as N and P and heavy metals such as lead, zinc etc by the vetiver crop.

9. Conclusion

Due the excellent community involvement program, the implementation phase went very smoothly and received overwhelmed support from the stakeholders, who were very enthusiastic and had taken every opportunity to learn the procedures and to discuss the pros and cons of various methods applied. With this background I have no doubt that the outcome of this program will convince the community to forge ahead to upscale the program to cover the major part of the Citarum River Basin.

10. Appendix.

Working Schedule

  • 19 April: Depart Brisbane for Jakarta via Singapore
  • 20 April AM: Arrive in Jakarta, transfer to Bandung
  • 20 April PM: Review working program with David Booth and Yoga in Bandung
  • 21 April: Site inspection at Upper Citarum
  • 22 April: Site inspection at Septic and Citarum river flat nursery sites
  • 23 April AM: Seminar on Vetiver System for Crop Production Improvement (with the emphases on soil erosion and sediment control and crop protection).
  • 23 April PM: Seminar on Vetiver System for the Treatment and Disposal of Contaminated Water and Land (Special Reference to Domestic and Municipal Wastewater Treatment)
  • 24 April: Design layout and planting demonstration at Upper Citarum site
  • 25 April AM: Design layout and planting demonstration at Septic site
  • 25 April PM: Transfer to Jakarta
  • 26 April AM: fly out to Singapore

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