Citarum River

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Citarum River
COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Luchtfoto van de brug over de rivier Tjitaroem bij Batoedjadjar Tjimahi Preanger West-Java TMnr 10007687.jpg
Bridge over the Citarum River
Native name ᮝᮜᮥᮍᮔ᮪ ᮎᮤᮒᮛᮥᮙ᮪
Country Indonesia
Basin features
Main source Mount Wayang, Bandung Regency, West Java
River mouth Java Sea, Ujung Karawang, Karawang Regency, West Java,
Physical characteristics
Length 300 km (190 mi)
COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Spoorbrug over de rivier Citarum Tandjoengpoera TMnr 60016122.jpg

Citarum (Sundanese: Walungan Citarum) is the longest and largest river in West Java, Indonesia[1] It is also the third longest river in Java after Bengawan Solo and Brantas. It has an important role in the life of the people of West Java, as it supports agriculture, water supply, fishery, industry, sewerage, electricity, etc.


In Indonesian history the Citarum is linked with the 4th century Tarumanagara kingdom, as the kingdom and the river shared the same etymology, derived from the word "Tarum" (Sundanese for indigo plant). The earlier 4th century BCE prehistoric Buni clay pottery-making culture flourished near the river's mouth. Stone inscriptions, Chinese sources, and archaeological sites such as Batujaya and Cibuaya, suggest that the human habitation and civilization has flourished in and around the river estuaries and river valley as early as 4th century and even earlier.

Hydroelectric and irrigation dams[edit]

There are three hydroelectric powerplant dams installed along the Citarum: Saguling, Cirata, and Ir. H. Djuanda (Jatiluhur), all supplying the electricity for the Bandung and Greater Jakarta areas. The waters from these dams are also used to irrigate vast rice paddies in Karawang and Bekasi area, making northern West Java lowlands as one of the most productive rice farming areas.[2]

The Jatiluhur Dam with a 3 billion cubic meter storage capacity has the largest reservoir in Indonesia.[3]

The river makes up around 80 percent of the surface water available to the people who use it. Pollution has affected agriculture so much that farmers have sold their rice paddies for half their normal price.[4]


The river is heavily polluted by human activity; about five million people live in its basin.[5][6] Textile factories in Bandung and Cimahi were major toxic waste contributors.[7] More than 2,000 industries contaminate 5,020 sq miles of the river with lead, mercury, arsenic and other toxins.[8]

On December 5, 2008, the Asian Development Bank approved a $500 million loan for cleaning up the river, calling it the world's dirtiest.[9]


In November 2011, the river revitalization began, with an expected cost of Rp35 trillion ($4 billion) over 15 years. The revitalization is occurring from Mount Wayang through 8 regencies and 3 cities for a distance of 180 kilometers. The target for the first 3 years is to pick up 10.5 million cubic meters of sedimentation.[10]


  1. ^ "Citarum Nadiku, Mari Rebut Kembali" (in Indonesian). Retrieved March 4, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Karawang Tantangan Si Lumbung Padi" (in Indonesian). Retrieved March 4, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Genjot Proyek Waduk Jatigede" (in Indonesian). Indopos Intermedia Press. Archived from the original on 2011-09-30. Retrieved 2014-04-18. 
  4. ^ Williams, Alex (30 June 2013). "Citarum: Possibly the world's most polluted river". Inside Investor. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  5. ^ Richard Shears (5 June 2007). "Is this the world's most polluted river?". Mail Online. Retrieved 24 May 2010. 
  6. ^ Nana Terangna Bukit (1995). "Water quality conservation for the Citarum River in West Java". Water Science and Technology. IWA Publishing. 31 (9): 1–10. doi:10.1016/0273-1223(95)00400-h. 
  7. ^ Nadya Natahadibrata (November 6, 2013). "Citarum, Kalimantan world's most polluted". Jakarta Post. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  8. ^ Stephen Leahy (November 8, 2013). "Toxic towns and poisoned rivers: a byproduct of industry for the rich". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  9. ^ Nancy-Amelia Collins (5 December 2008). "ADB Gives Indonesia $500 Million to Clean Up World's Dirtiest River". Retrieved 24 May 2010. 
  10. ^ "Rehabilitasi Total Sungai Citarum Butuh Rp 35 Triliun dalam Waktu 15 Tahun". November 10, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 5°56′09″S 106°59′43″E / 5.935833°S 106.995278°E / -5.935833; 106.995278