In the 46 sqkm city of Pekalongan, there are dozens of neighbourhoods under threat of becoming one with the sea, with saltwater encroaching inland for up to 1.5km. At the heart of the problem is Pekalongan’s overreliance on groundwater, which is not only extracted for domestic use but also to irrigate fish farms and rice fields.
The over-extraction of groundwater has caused the city to sink at a rate of between 10cm to 15cm per year. In some areas, the land subsidence has been as severe as 26cm per year.
Meanwhile, climate change has brought more extreme rainfall, stronger winds, higher waves and rising sea levels. Scientists have warned that if nothing is done to stop the widespread land subsidence and encroachment of the sea, the entire city could be underwater by 2036.
Thanks to IVAA for the lead!