Katulampa Weir or in Indonesian, it is called Bendung Katulampa, is a 74 M length structure located in East Bogor. It stretches across the Ciliwung River that flows through Bogor.
It is a weir that was developed when Indonesia was still a Dutch Colony back in 1912.
The background of the establishment of the structure could be traced 40 years back from its completion. It was when Batavia (now Jakarta) was drowned by big flood in 1872. Many important areas in Batavia were soaked by water and destructed many infrastructures at that time.
The moment awakened the consciousness of high ranking officers of Dutch East Indie about the dangerous flow of water coming from highland such as Buitenzorg (Now Bogor). They intended to curb the flow by redirecting as well as providing a flood early warning system for the Capital of East Indie.
In order to materialize this idea, the pre-development survey was done from 1889. However, the realization of the set up had just been started in 1911 when they appointed Dutch Engineer, Hendrik Van Breen as the head of the project.
It took almost two years from 1911 – 1912 to complete the weir. Since the area where the weir laid was Katulampa, then the weir is Katulampa Weir.
The importance of the weir at that time could be seen from the attendances of its opening ceremony. The name of East Indie Governor General Alexander Willem Frederic Idenburg was among them who came.
During the ceremony, an Indonesian domestic ritual of burying a head of buffalo was also done to symbolize a wish that the weir would protect them from a disaster. The ritual was also considered a request to the “watchman” of the area not to disturb the structure that it could stand for long time.
The Functions of Katulampa Weir
The Katulampa Weir has, until now, 5 inlaatsluis or sluices whose function to re-direct the flow to lower region. These sluices don’t have gates that can hold the water.
There are also 3 smaller 3 spuisluis or sluices with gates to control and hold the water. In case, the volume of water is too high, to avoid flood in some areas, the gates will be closed that the water will flow to another direction.
By having this weir developed, the Dutch officers expected that the water could be re-directed to East of Batavia not the Center. It was important because many East Indie’s government offices located in the center (the practice that can still be found until now in Jakarta).
Besides that function, Katulampa weir could provide irrigation for 7000 hectares of rice field and also provide the early warning system. When the water surface reaches specific level, a message would be transferred to Batavia/Jakarta that they could prepare for the coming flood.
It functioned also as a bridge that could provide people from each side of Ciliwung river to make a cross to the other side.
Except the irrigation function that is no longer necessary, rice fields in Bogor have almost been diminished completely, all other functions still work.
Now, a small surveillance station have been built next to the weir. The officials will keep their eyes on the water surface, especially in rainy season. Once the surface passed the specific level (based on observation on a ruler on the weir), they will radio their counterparts along the river, especially in Jakarta.
It takes around 6-7 hours for the water to arrive in Jakarta from Katulampa weir. So, if the surveillance team wires their message at 12.00 PM, then people in Jakarta can expect the water to arrive by 18-19.00 PM.
The area that is affected by the water from Katulampa Weir is the Eastern Jakarta area such as Kampung Melayu. That’s why many citizen from this area often contact directly to the Katulampa surveillance post to learn about the situation in heavy rain.
It is old, indeed. Its age now has been more than 100 years old. Some parts, especially its metal equipments, look rusty.
However, the old weir still functions perfectly as it was. The old Katulampa Weir still plays an important role in nowadays Jakarta and Bogor life.
It still warns people about the coming water or flood. It allows people to prepare themselves for the expected disaster.