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Seeking Balance in Bali

February 11, 2019 Visit ASEAN No Comments Email Email


Bali is best known for its zen vibe, pristine beaches and towering volcanic peaks. However, beyond the South Seas glamour awaiting travellers, the island is facing the most fundamental challenge in its history. Water resources, once sustainably managed by tradition, are now dwindling as population growth, climate change and tourism expansion place pressure on the island’s water table, and a new documentary looks for a solution to this crisis by stepping back in time.

Balancing the Waters tells the story of Bali’s traditional Subak irrigation system; first used in the 9th century, this innovative and sustainable water management system combined agriculture and spirituality in a precise and balanced approach that placed nature first. While elements of the Subak system, which used terraced rice paddies to distribute and manage water, can still be found in parts of Bali, growing demand in the island’s tourist hubs means Bali’s water table is now dangerously low.

The Balancing the Waters documentary is a passion of Sayan Gulino, CEO of Bali’s pioneering contemporary waterpark Waterbom. Having grown up in Bali, Gulino has an affinity for the island, its people, and its traditions. Waterbom is a market leader in sustainable practice and water management and has been the force for change behind the Balancing the Waters project, which illustrates how responsible, sustainable management by companies like Waterbom can ensure water resources for generations to come.

“Balancing the Waters is about the basic human obligation to achieve balance in our environment,” says Gulino. “By focusing on Bali’s plight, this documentary presents us with the current state of affairs regarding water in our modern world and what we can do to turn the potentially disastrous situation into a prosperous one.”

At the core of Waterbom’s environmental management philosophy, which has become the benchmark for the Bali tourism industry, is adopting sustainable business practices that not only reduce waste but also the operation’s burden on the environment.

As guests arrive they will immediately notice a drop in ambient temperature (approx. four degrees Celsius) compared to the street outside, a feat achieved by landscaping that makes up 50 percent of the park, and which plays home to many endemic and endangered species. In addition, recycled timber has been employed in the construction of restaurants and pavilions, and water sourcing and use is carefully monitored to ensure Waterbom maintains the strictest international sustainable credentials.

As guests arrive they will immediately notice a drop in ambient temperature (approx. four degrees Celsius) compared to the street outside, a feat achieved by landscaping that makes up 50percent of the park, and which plays home to many endemic and endangered species. In addition, recycled timber has been employed in the construction of restaurants and pavilions, and water sourcing and use is carefully monitored to ensure Waterbom maintains the strictest international sustainable credentials.

These efforts extend to the Waterbom kitchens, which have been designed to be as efficient as possible and where all rubbish and food waste is separated and recycled. This includes cooking oil which is processed for fuel. In recent years Waterbom has also replaced disposable single-use plastics with biodegradable materials.



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