Ground water quality severely worsened in several of Bali's most popular tourism areas, including Nusa Dua, which hosts the ongoing two-week UN climate change conference, The Jakarta Post reported on Friday.
Poor ground water quality and contamination has been blamed on the area's ever-increasing production of waste and garbage, the report said.
"The ground water and wells in Nusa Dua, Tanjung Benoa and Legian areas are so heavily contaminated that the water is unfit for human consumption," said I Ketut Sundra, a lecturer at Indonesia's Udayana State University's biology department, quoted by the newspaper.
Ketut, who is a member of the water quality monitoring team established by the island's Environment Agency to conduct an annual assessment on the island's water quality, made his statement based on his 2005 research, which was carried out in both wet and dry seasons.
The most recent government-sanctioned water quality assessment was conducted early this December, he said.
However, he declined to disclose the full results of the assessment.
His 2006 research revealed the ground water and wells in Nusa Dua, Tanjung Benoa and Legian -- the center of the Bali island's mass tourism-oriented development -- were contaminated by significant levels of total dissolved solids (TDS), a technical term for anything present in the water other than the pure water molecule (H20) and suspended solids.
Other contaminants were nitrogen oxide (NO2) and coli bacteria.
The ground water and wells also showed a high level of phosphate, biological oxygen demand (BOD5) and chemical oxygen demand (COD).
Ketut blamed the contamination on the heavy level of human activities in the areas. The growing human population, combined with poor waste and garbage management, has also aggravated contamination of the ground water and wells in the areas, he said.
The local authority must address the water quality problem immediately, otherwise, it could give rise to other damaging problems, he warned.
Bali, well known as "the Goddess Island" , is a resort island of Indonesia. With a population of over 3 million, it is the country's largest tourist destination.
(Xinhua News Agency December 7, 2007)