After a year-long delay, the Manado municipality will begin the Tondano River Basin Area (DAS) revitalization project later this year, in a bid to prevent annual floods and landslides.
Manado Regional Development Planning Board (Bappeda) chairman Peter Assa said the project would proceed despite moving very slowly.
“I just received a report from one of the division heads at the Sulawesi River Center on the development of the project, which stated that the project is currently at the tender stage,” said Assa on Tuesday.
He said budget allocations for land acquisition for the project had been arranged in the 2015 provincial budget at Rp 7 billion (US$538,000) and backup funding from the state budget adjustment proposed by the river center of Rp 10 billion.
Separately, Manado Public Works Office head Royke Mamahit said the project was in its appraisal stage.
“Land measurement has been carried out in the past 10 days. An independent party is currently carrying out appraisals,” said Mamahit.
According to him, the land-compensation assessment would be carried out in two weeks at the latest.
“The price of land and buildings can be set and after that the compensation process. The project will then commence,” he said.
The Tondano DAS revitalization project was initially planned to commence at the end of 2013 and sponsored by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The flash flooding and landslides which occurred on Jan. 15, last year, leaving at least 18 residents dead and displacing thousands of others, delayed the project.
The floods affected several regencies, including Manado, Minahasa, South Minahasa, Bolaang Mongondow and North Bomut.
Flash foods and landslides happen almost every year during the rainy season, causing substantial losses, especially to residents in upland areas.
According to data from the Tondano River Basin Area Management Center (BPDAS), the Tondano DAS encompasses around 51,000 hectares, including Lake Tondano, which measures around 4,680 ha, or 8 percent of the total Tondano DAS.
The terrain is characterized as hilly and mountainous, with about 25 percent of the land having gradients higher than 25 degrees.
A large part of the Tondano DAS is located in Minahasa regency, encompassing 11 districts and 146 villages and subdistricts, and the remainder is located in Manado municipality, covering four districts.
The Tondano DAS was inhabited by around 338,000 people in 2000, more than 50 percent of them living in Minahasa regency and the rest in Manado city.
Most of the residents in Tondano DAS in Minahasa depend on farming as a living.
Agriculture is an important sector of the economy in Minahasa and contributes up to 70 percent of the regency’s income.
The Tondano DAS comprises 40 percent farmland, 40 percent mixed farmland, bush, natural forests and the rest rice fields and residential areas.