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Crappy Drainage: Redux on Dirty Dili

Well I got far more comments in the Dirty Dili posting than I would have imagined.  More than a few people made very sensible comments.   One anonymous friend suggested I was harping about the inadequacies of UNTAEt and that that was old hat.  He’s right I suppose.  So it made me look into old stuff from that era if only for reasons of nostalgia – here is Worldbank ’99 Joint Assessement Mission report. Boring. …

One commentator caught me me on the hop.  She posted a Government press release from 5 November in which it seems cash has been put together for a plan….  I should have done my research.  This is good surely?

Cash for a Plan!

Now I do not know much about the subject, clearly as per above.  So I dug around.  Came across the ubiquitous power point presentation put together by the Government and some international partners on the development of a plan.  You can even have a look at the entire power point here, its pretty impressive, 26 slides in lots of fancy colours. We mock the military for their infatuation with power points, but its a problem for the development hack as well.

The Powerpoint version of a solution.

Now for those of you who get bored with power points I have turned it into a movieYouTube Preview Image

One thing that concerned me is that when I opened up the presentation I noticed that in the document properties, the “consultants” “appear” to have done much of the drafting….  who owns the plan?

Lack of local ownership?

Although to be fair one of the lead “consultants” was quoted in the Government press release as saying that “The success of the project will not only be determined by how healthy and clean the Díli environment has become, but also by the Timor-Leste people’s ability to build on the systems introduced by the Masterplan”. It would seem that he was listening to my anonymous friend who commented on the last posting with the words, “Dili has crappy drainage because of eight years of Timorese mismanagement and inability to let a proper contract.”  Now I am sure that there was some nefarious international consultant involved in the muck up somewhere, perhaps even me somehow?

However, it has the makings of a proper plan, it is after all stretched out over 15 years.  Much more sensible than a 9 month UNDP project pilot, or something akin to it.  Something to stick into the top agenda at the Timor-Leste Development Partners Meeting in April 2011?

There is some urgency.  On the Ministry of State Administration website they have a 2001 era Dili District Profile posted. Read it here. What caught my eye was the numbers… the sleepy little numbers. It says that Dili had a population of 137,00o ten years ago…. That means there is another 100,000 people in town today. Thats a lot of plastic rubbish, beer cans and other crap.

Population proliferation. Worse than nuclear proliferation?

Just imagine Dili in 2020 – with 350,000 to 400,000 people wading through the muck.

Then again, why not follow the Burmese precedent.  Move the capitol – Aileu, or Baucau?

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  1. David Craven says:

    Whilst your point is clear and irrefutable (the population of Dili has grown dramatically in the last 10 years, and will continue to do so), the data you cite for “current population” of Dili District is confused and misleading. The figures I’m looking at for current population of Dili District are 234,331 total, 109,923 females and 124,408 males (from “Rezultado Preliminariu ne’ebe hetan husi sensus, Timor-Leste” National Directorate of Statistics, Ministry of Finance, October 2010. The figures you cite (137,879 total population, 26,785 households, 65,225 females and 72,133 males, were ‘current’ 10 years ago – not clear from your posting, and the numbers you cite don’t support the estimate you make for 350,000 – 400,000 by 2020.

  2. Edward Rees says:

    Dear David,

    Thanks for that.

    As I understand it Dili had around 20,000 people in 1975, 137,000 in 2001, 174,000 in 2004, and now around 235,000 in 2011.

    Agreed – I take a pessimistic view on 2020, believing that centralised systems and opportunities will drive urbanisation. Why would Dili be different than most other similar places?

  3. I am really glad that someone really brings this up. I have been read and collected some essential information related to the design guide of the urban drainage system in Dili and other places in Timor Leste. Also I have contacted several people to provide me some information related what have been done in the drainage design. I found nothing that I am looking for. The friends did not response my email, the ADB report that say “the master plan” of Dili urban drainage system has been conducted by JICA did not provide any detail information that I am looking for. I sent an email the JICA office but never get an email back.

    My principal objective was to develop a scientific tool in the drainage system design for Dili and other places in Timor or simply the hydrological design guide for Dili urban drainage system and other hydrological region in Timor Leste. This work will be important in order to properly design a new system or upgrade the existing one. If anyone on this blog has some information related to drainage system, design, and analysis, I would be really happy and appreciate to have those related information


  4. Edward Rees says:

    Dear Krispin. Hmmm. You mean you emailed large and well resourced international agencies and never got a response, or got back a response which of less than a useful nature? Hmmm. Surprise surprise. Let me know if we can help in way, although its not an area I know anything about, other than of course from an observational point of view. The Melbourne Water people seem to know alot. What about them? Edward

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