Water is very significant in Bali, not just for agricultural and domestic use but also for sacred reasons. In the Munduk area, religion is deeply entwined with the local water sources. Important ceremonies and rituals in this community start at the headwaters and end at the sea.
Pak Nyoman’s concern for the environment around Munduk began in 1992, when he began to see problems with erosion and potential issues around the integrity of the area’s water sources. The Munduk area receives water from springs high on the mountain. In 2009 a Swiss volunteer made a comprehensive survey of the water sources and irrigation around Munduk village in order to understand and map the source and usage. Pak Nyoman also needed a clearer understanding of whether some of the springs needed protection from industrial exploitation.
Preserving the Watershed
The survey discovered that all of the major springs in this watershed were located at an elevation of about 1150 m behind Lake Tamblingan and that the spring water was actually seepage originating from the lake. This water, which was essential for the irrigation of rice terraces near Munduk, also supplies part of South Bali. Clearly, the watershed required protection. Businesses were already planning to tap the springs and it was considered important to protect them from exploitation along with the land above them, which was subject to erosion from the monoculture of coffee, cloves and ceremonial flowers.
Three hectares of land around the springs were purchased and a bale, bathing places and toilets were built for local farmers. The project then planted indigenous trees and built simple shelters with fireplaces. The area is now a small nature reserve where tourists can trek, meditate and stay overnight. Forty are of land was also purchased next to the waterfall and a system was built to supply Munduk and areas further downstream with spring water for domestic and agricultural use. Reforestation with traditional timber such as mahogany and teak trees help to stabilize the land against erosion.