Water is Life-A Tale of a Plan for the Future

Howdy Globetrotters,

How is 2019 treating you so far? Anyone in Australia right now no doubt will be thinking about water. North Queensland has recently been devastated by ‘one in a thousand year’ floods, meanwhile to the south, the state of New South Wales is in drought with ancient river systems that are dying along with their aquatic life. There has never been a more important time to discuss the importance of clean, accessible and well-managed water supplies. As it happens, someone special has been working tirelessly on this exact issue. Melissa McCabe is walking the walk and has put everything on the line to create CORETHICS, an initiative that promotes local communities and most importantly, sustainability of all kinds. This edition please enjoy a reproduction of a piece Melissa wrote in her own words. 

Bali waterfall

How Tourism Can Save Bali’s Water

Over 60% of Bali’s water catchment is drying up, threatening the survival of the fashion industry, hotel industry… the list goes on. Water is the most valuable natural resource we have and we must begin to enact ethical policies and practices to ensure its survival, not just for industry but for the livelihood of human-kind.

The very pillars that hold Bali up economically, are the same that pull it down socially and environmentally. Tourism is the main source of employment and income for the Balinese and for good reason, the island is an amazing paradise and it will make you not want to go home! But, the balance is off.  Did you know the leakage from swimming pools in Bali is around 855,000 litres per day? And, that is just pools. The hospitality, hotel, and garment industries combined, use an exorbitant amount of water  e v e r y  s i n g l e  d a y. 80% of Bali’s economy depends on tourism and tourism use 65% of water resources available in Bali.

The point is, Bali’s water and purification levels are at a critical point and with 14,000 visitors arriving at the island1 every day we cannot ignore this issue and WE MUST ACT!

1based on November, 2018 average

Bali forrest

Where to from here?


In 2017, I met with Yosephine Avi Rembulan the Resource Development Coordinator at IDEP Foundation at their beautiful office located in Gianyar, Bali. I was interested to discuss their Bali Water Protection Program as it aligned with the goals of Corethics. What was clear was a nuanced approach to protecting the precious and dwindling water supply on the island.


Avi shared with me an update of IDEPs water-related work. I was fascinated by the research and implementation of mapping out Bali and its water catchment areas to understand where to best place recharge wells. Replenishing water levels to the island would lighten the burden on its environment and its inhabitants.  I fell in love with IDEP’s School’s program; ‘Adopt a River’ which, at first, reminded me of home and the campaign ‘Adopt a Road”.

The thing is, organisations like IDEP are perfectly placed to provide their expertise in teaching the next generation how to navigate through the 21st Century of Humanity. Back home, it is a perfect opportunity for the NSW Department of Education to strengthen partnerships in the region, promoting bilateral partnerships and address climate change by strengthening security in the region. Such a partnership could empower visitors to the island to become more conscious of their water consumption.

Connect and collaborate; two ways we can empower society to nurture the precious planet we so heavily rely on for existence.

The best way to foster sustainable development for the  21 Century is through connecting with culture and understanding others.

I’ve always loved the Bahasa Indonesia saying “gotong-royong” or working together to achieve a mutual goal, so much so that I put it on a t-shirt limited stock.


Legal Action

What if tourism becomes a vehicle to flourish rather than deplete? I’m an activist at heart and driven by change, but without action, my passion subsides. What I see is an opportunity for transformation, innovation, and respect for each other (human and non-human species).

Just recently the Bali Provincial Government introduced a new law that recognises the symbiosis needed between humankind and the environment by rewarding those who bring tourism and agriculture back into balance. Penalties will be enforced for those that fail to comply with ensuring 60% of products bought, sold and marketed by hoteliers and 30% of products for handicrafts are produced locally.

So, why is this transformative?

Locally made produce does several things, it replenishes our environment, caters for local communities, and gives nature a chance to breathe.

Bali rice patties

Attention all Entrepreneurs out there! Bali Governor Wayan Koster has a message for you:

“I appeal to entrepreneurs and other economic actors who carry out their business activities in Bali to position and portray themselves accompanied by a responsibility to build Bali instead of building in Bali,” said Koster. The Bali Provincial Government will give awards to parties who are consistent and obedient in implementing this Governor Regulation, as well as providing sanctions for those who violate. The Governor will also form a special team to oversee the implementation of the Governor Regulation. Read original post.

Zero Impact

The Bali Governor Regulation No. 99 of 2018 means local business must take priority. With demand now focusing in on local producers the pressure is on them to guarantee a quality product at levels that instill the reputation of hoteliers and retailers. On top of that, the water (+clean) needed for local production is drying up, impacting both the hotel and fashion industry. It is clear that the way forward for tourism is for sustainable development to encompass wastewater treatment, purification, and conservation.

In Kapal, a lowland village near Tabanan, many farmers have been around since before the Green Revolution. They say the land used to be soft, loamy and rich. Now there’s a joke that if you kick the dirt you break your toe. Read original article. 

You can read Melissa’s original post on the CORETHICS blog. If you have any questions or comments, please use the contact form below. Until next time!