Aceh River

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The Aceh River floodway

The Aceh river on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia flows from mountains that include the 2780-metre high Mount Peuët Sagoë for some two hundred kilometres northeastward to reach the junction of the Indian Ocean and the Andaman Sea at Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh Province. The river has a catchment area of some 1775 square kilometres.[1]

The river has a flow of up to 30,000 cubic meters per second.[2] This enormous flow frequently flooded Banda Aceh and the land upstream from the town.

Flood prevention[edit]

The Japanese Government provided Indonesia an aid package to reduce flooding. From 1986 to 1992 the Japanese consultants Pacific Consultants International[3] with Japanese, Korean and Indonesian contractors reconstructed the river's seaward-end 25 kilometres and built a diversion channel almost entirely preventing flooding.

50 kilometres of 8-metre plastic mattresses were woven in Heathcote Amery's factory in Tiverton, England, and on site sewn together and injected with grout to line the sandy river banks.

The project included 12 bridges (designed to span the enormous seaward river flow): 11 survived undamaged the 9.5-magnitude 26 December 2004 earthquake that killed some 31,000 Banda Aceh people and the tsunami that swept water up some 40 kilometres of the river. The 12th bridge (the closest bridge to the sea) collapsed because it had a single pre-cast beam as it was only a pedestrian bridge linking two fishing villages (these villages were completely destroyed by the tsunami).

After President Suharto had made a speech at the opening ceremony, he was asked by an 80-year-old man if another bridge could be built to reduce the distance he cycled to his farmland. The President replied "Carry on cycling and you will live for ever!".[4]


  1. ^
  2. ^ 28 December 2009 interview with Peter Hines, a 1986-1992 Resident Engineer increasing the river flow.
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2009-12-28. 
  4. ^ 28 December 2009 interview with Peter Hines, a 1986-1992 Resident Engineer increasing the river flow.

Coordinates: 5°21′05″N 95°33′45″E / 5.3512726°N 95.5623695°E / 5.3512726; 95.5623695