During that final roll call, when all of the good and all of the bad of all our lives is placed upon the scales, will surfers, as a group, emerge as a beneficial sect or scurrilous trash? On the positive side we might find gifting humanity a healthy fear of Great White sharks. On the negative, maybe even on top of a very large pile including, but not limited to, Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch plow, there will certainly be the exposure, colonization and destruction of one-time paradise Bali.
Oh we’ve all been and many of us have even taken advantage of favorable economic disparities to live gilded lives with swimming pools, servants, etc. that would have been altogether impossible in the United States or Australia. That would have never even been dreamed but there, in Bali, rupiah raining down from the sky, we practiced yoga on teak decks overlooking pristine breaks. We surfed and hash-tagged #blessed.
Well, all those swimming pools etc., all those advertisements for a perfect life attracted tourist hordes who are draining Bali of her waters and let us read hard truths. Let us look our sin directly in the eye.
Tourists are being blamed for a shortage of freshwater in drought-stricken Bali, which has seen more than half its rivers run dry.
The holiday island is still waiting for its delayed wet season to begin as a drought that’s affecting an estimated 50 million people across Indonesia continues to threaten food security, local culture and quality of life, Al-Jazeera reports.
Some 260 of Bali’s 400 rivers have run dry and the island’s largest water reserve, Lake Buyan, had dropped 3.5 metres. Meanwhile, the falling water table is causing saltwater intrusion in many areas across the island, especially in the south.
“I believe Bali is in real danger,” local journalist Anton Muhajir, who has been covering Bali’s water crisis, told Al-Jazeera.
“Some of my friends have had to move from their ancestral homes in Denpasar because the water in their wells has turned salty. At Jatiluwih, where thousands of tourists go each day to see the most beautiful rice terraces of Bali, farmers are using plastic pipes to pump in water they have to buy in the south because the springs in the mountains are drying up.
“And now we have drought, not just in Bali but in nearly every province in Indonesia.”
The blame has fallen on Bali’s tourism industry, which uses about 65 per cent of the island’s water, according to the Indonesian non-government organisation IDEP Foundation.
Shame on me. Shame on you. Shame on Taylor Steele who once lived in Bali with his family but only a little bit of shame because I sure would like a Christmas bottle of his organic sipping tequila Solento and…
…wait just a minute. What if tequila was served on Bali instead of water? What if the rivers, streams and reservoirs ran with 100% agave goodness?
Could surfers actually save Bali?
More as the story develops.