The Citarum Program
Creating clean, healthy and productive rivers and communities.
Millions of people rely on the Citarum River for their water, energy, food and livelihoods. The river sustains livelihoods through agriculture, animal husbandry, fishing and ecotourism. Yet, it is also one of the most polluted rivers in the world. Each day 20,000 tonnes of solid waste, and 280,000 tonnes of industrial wastewater are discharged directly into the river, mostly raw or untreated sewage from domestic households.
Prioritising healthy environments, wellbeing and access to clean water and waste services has never been more important. But solutions are often developed and applied in isolation from each other. An integrative, socio-technical approach for sustainable transformation of the river corridor is needed.
Our vision is to create clean, healthy and productive rivers and communities by using new approaches that harness waste, thereby propelling communities towards sustainable growth.
Monash University and Universitas Indonesia are partnering with the Indonesian Government, communities, local NGOs, and the global research community to develop innovations that deliver improved water and waste services, and revitalise the community, economy and environment.
By co-designing new infrastructure, behaviour programs, business models and institutions, our aim is to help communities move away from dumping or discharging waste into the environment, and shift towards circular solutions that recycle, remanufacture and reuse waste.
To achieve our vision, we will come together across sectors and disciplines to co-design and test integrative social, technological and economic innovations.
Together, we’ll create new solutions to help restore degraded rivers, revitalise communities and transition to a circular economy. Our aim is to collect rigorous scientific evidence that localised socio-technical innovations can deliver sustainable improvements and growth for rivers and their communities.
We’ll partner with selected villages along a tributary of the Citarum River to demonstrate our community-led, technically rigorous approach addressing pollution, biodiversity loss, community health and poverty in riverine contexts.
- Interdisciplinary Research Grant (Monash Data Futures Institute and MSDI): Predicting flood risk: The case of the Citarum River, Indonesia (2019 – 2021)
- Monash-Warwick Alliance scheme: Sustainable Development of Informal Settlements and Citarum Basin Ecologies (Nov 2019 – Dec 2021)
- Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (Monash University and University of Indonesia): Enhancing Local Capacity for Implementing Transboundary Revitalisation Policies for the Citarum River (2021 – 2023)
Recent news and events
In 2021, the Victorian Government awarded funding to create a living lab along the Citarum River, one of the world’s most polluted waterways. Because of the pandemic, the Monash team has been forced to work remotely until last month when the Monash team visited the river-side villages for the first time in over two years.
The Victorian Government has awarded The Citarum Program a grant to establish a ‘living lab’ to address pollution in the Citarum River in West Java, Indonesia. The grant is provided through the Study Melbourne Research Partnerships program, delivered through veski.
5 Nov 2021
Monash researchers and the Citarum program team, along with our partners Universitas Indonesia, Universitas Padjadjaran, West Java Environmental Agency and R&D Agency, recently participated in the hybrid 24th International River Symposium in Brisbane.
11 Oct 2021
The Citarum is the longest and largest river in West Java, running 270km through thousands of communities to connect the people, villages and landscape of the most populous province in Indonesia. It’s also one of the most polluted rivers in the world.
26 Aug 2021
Monash University and the Provincial Government of West Java, Indonesia, today signed a Letter of Intent to collaborate on developing new solutions to restore the Citarum River – one of the most polluted rivers in the world.
22 Jul 2021
Major program milestone reached as demonstration site officially opens.
19 Oct 2019
Graduate research opportunity
The project aims to design, deliver and monitor a socio-technical intervention in a strategic location in the upper river catchment of the Citarum River. We aim to develop evidence through a rigorous program of research in ecological health, well-being and community resilience to climate change.