Proc. IAHS, 370, 15–20, 2015
© Author(s) 2015. CC Attribution 3.0 License.
Changes in Flood Risk and Perception in Catchments and Cities (HS01 – IUGG2015)
On correlation between urban development, land
subsidence and ﬂooding phenomena in Jakarta
H. Z. Abidin, H. Andreas, I. Gumilar, and I. R. R. Wibowo
Geodesy Research Group, Institute of Technology Bandung, Jl. Ganesha 10, Bandung, Indonesia
Correspondence to: H. Z. Abidin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Received: 11 March 2015 – Accepted: 11 March 2015 – Published: 11 June 2015
Abstract. Jakarta is the capital city of Indonesia with a population of about 10.2 million people, inhabiting an
area of about 660 square-km. It is located within a deltaic plain and passes by 13 natural and artiﬁcial rivers.
In the last three decades, urban development of Jakarta has grown very rapidly in the sectors of industry, trade,
transportation, real estate and many others, which has caused several negative environmental impacts. In turns
Jakarta is then prone toward a few natural hazards mainly land subsidence and ﬂooding. In general, based on
geodetic measurement methods (e.g. Leveling, GPS surveys, and InSAR), conducted since 1982 up to 2014,it is
obtained that land subsidence in Jakarta exhibits spatial and temporal variations, with the typical rates of about
3 to 10cmyear−1. In general, the impacts of land subsidence in Jakarta can be seen in the forms of cracking of
permanent constructions and roads, changes in river canal and drain ﬂow systems, wider expansion of coastal
and/or inland ﬂooding areas, and malfunction of drainage system. Several areas along the coast of Jakarta already
have experienced tidal ﬂooding during high tide periods. These coastal ﬂooding usually occurs in the areas
with relatively large subsidence rates. Subsidence in the areas along the rivers which are ﬂowing throughout
Jakarta will also worsen the impacts of riverine ﬂooding. The changes in river canal and drain ﬂow systems and
malfunction of drainage system due to land subsidence will also aggravate the ﬂooding. Land subsidence will
have direct and indirect affects with the ﬂooding in Jakarta, both in coastal or inland areas.
Land subsidence can geometrically deﬁned as the downward
displacement of the land surface relative to certain refer-
ence surface, such as mean sea level (MSL), geoid or ref-
erence ellipsoid. It is natural-anthropogenic hazard affecting
quite many large urban areas (cities) in the world, including
Jakarta, the capital city in Indonesia. Jakarta has a popula-
tion of about 10.2 million people in 2013, inhabiting an area
of about 660 square-km. It is located on the lowland area in
the northern coast of West Java, centered at the coordinates of
about 6◦150S and +106◦500E (see Fig. 1). Topographically,
the area of Jakarta has slopes ranging between 0 and 2◦in
the northern and central parts, between 0 and 5◦in the south-
ern part, and its southern-most area has an altitude of about
50m above mean sea level. There are also 13 rivers ﬂow-
ing through Jakarta, which form the main drainage system of
Jakarta. According to Rimbama and Suparan (1999), there
are ﬁve main landforms of Jakarta, namely: alluvial land-
forms (southern part), landforms of marine-origin (northern
part adjacent to the coastline), beach ridge landforms (north-
west and northeast parts), swamp and mangrove swamp land-
forms (coastal fringe), and former channels (perpendicular to
As the megapolitan city, Jakarta has a very rapid urban
development in the sectors of industry, trade, transportation,
real estate, and many others (Firman, 1999, 2004; Hudalah
et al., 2013). Several negative environmental problems have
been introduced by this exponentially increased urban devel-
opment (Firman and Dharmapatni, 1994; Hudalah and Fir-
man, 2012), such as: extensive conversion of agricultural ar-
eas into residential and industrial areas, signiﬁcant distur-
bance to ecological and hydrological functions of the up-
land of Jakarta area and river catchment areas, and increase
in groundwater extraction due to development of industrial
activities and the high population increase. These negative
impacts will contribute to land subsidence phenomena in
Published by Copernicus Publications on behalf of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences.
16 H. Z. Abidin et al.: Urban development, land subsidence and ﬂooding phenomena in Jakarta
Figure 1. Location of Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia.
Figure 2. Urban development and land subsidence relation in
Jakarta (Abidin et al., 2011).
several places in Jakarta, and the resulted land subsidence
will also then affect the urban development plan and process
(Abidin et al., 2011), as illustrated in Fig. 2.
Land subsidence in Jakarta has been observed using sev-
eral geodetic techniques and has been widely reported for
many years (Rismianto and Mak, 1993; Murdohardono and
Sudarsono, 1998; Purnomo et al., 1999; Rajiyowiryono,
1999; Abidin et al., 2001, 2004, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013;
Koudogbo et al., 2012; Ng et al., 2012; Chaussard et al.,
2013). According to those studies, land subsidence in Jakarta
has spatial and temporal variations with typical rates of
about 3 to 10 cmyear−1. Several locations however, can have
higher rates at certain time period and location.
Jakarta has historically experienced many ﬂooding, es-
pecially during the rainy season, both riverine and coastal
ﬂooding (Caljouw and Nas, 2005; Texier, 2008; Hurford and
Leito, 2010). Major ﬂooding that have been reported was in
1654, 1699 (caused mainly by Salak volcano eruption), 1711,
1714, 1854, 1873, 1918, 1942, 1976, 1979, 1996, 2002,
2007, 2008, 2013, and 2014. Flooding in Jakarta is usually
occured during the rainy season (December to February),
and caused by several factors that are directly and indirectly
working together. These natural, human and environmental
factors of ﬂooding are quite numerous, such as: high rainfall
Table 1. Observed land subsidence rates in Jakarta; after Abidin et
al. (2001, 2011, 2013). .
No. Method Rates (cmyear−1) Period
1 Leveling Surveys 1–9 3–7 1982–1991
1–25 3–10 1991–1997
2 GPS Surveys 1–28 4–10 1997–2011
3 InSAR 1–12 3–10 2006–2010
intensity (2000–4000mmyear−1) during the rainy seasons;
13 rivers which are ﬂowing to the sea through lowland topog-
raphy; high tides and sea level rise; rapid urban development
and population growth; uncontrolled land use changes and
environmental degradation in the upstream areas and along
the rivers; dense illegal settlements along the rivers; direct
waste dumping into the rivers by the peoples; poor drainage
and sewerage systems; and land subsidence phenomena.
Land subsidence in urban area should theoretically have
spatial relation with ﬂooding in certain location. This paper
investigates the spatial correlation between land subsidence
and ﬂooding phenomena in Jakarta, although still in qualita-
2 Land Subsidence Characteristics in Jakarta
Land subsidence rates in Jakarta has been estimated using
several geodetic methods, such as Leveling, GPS survey, In-
SAR, Microgravity, and Geometric-Historic. In general, land
subsidence in Jakarta has a spatial and temporal variation,
with the typical rates between 3 to 10 cmyear−1, as shown in
Fig. 3 and Table 1. The observed subsidence rates along the
coastal areas of Jakarta are relatively larger than the inland
areas, although the rates along the coastal zone of Jakarta it-
self have spatial variation. The more detail characteristics of
land subsidence in Jakarta can be seen in (Abidin et al., 2001,
2004, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013; Ng et al., 2012, Chaussard et
Land subsidence in Jakarta can be caused by the combina-
tion of the following factors, namely: excessive groundwater
extraction, natural consolidation of alluvium soil, load of in-
frastructures and constructions, and tectonic activities (Mur-
dohardono and Sudarsono, 1998; Rismianto and Mak, 1993;
Harsolumakso, 2001; Hutasoit, 2001). Considering the spa-
tial variation of land subsidence rates in Jakarta area, then it
can be expected that the contribution of each factor on the
subsidence at each location also has spatial variation. Tec-
tonic activities seem to be the least dominant factor, while
excessive groundwater extraction is considered to be one of
dominant factor for causing land subsidence in Jakarta.
The impacts of land subsidence in Jakarta can be seen in
several forms, such as of cracking of building and infrastruc-
Proc. IAHS, 370, 15–20, 2015 proc-iahs.net/370/15/2015/
H. Z. Abidin et al.: Urban development, land subsidence and ﬂooding phenomena in Jakarta 17
Figure 3. Temporal and spatial variations of land subsidence in
Jakarta: (top) Box-and-Whisker plots of land subsidence rates as de-
rived by leveling surveys from 1982 to 1997 (Abidin et al., 2011);
(bottom) land subsidence magnitudes as derived by GPS surveys
from 1998 to 2014 (Wibowo, 2014).
tures, “sinking” of houses and buildings, changes in river
canal and drain ﬂow systems, wider expansion of coastal
and/or inland ﬂooding areas, malfunction of drainage system,
and increased inland sea water intrusion. In the coastal ar-
eas of Jakarta, which have relatively higher subsidence rates
(Abidin et al., 2010, 2011), the collateral impact in the form
of coastal ﬂooding during high tides is even more damaging.
This repeated coastal ﬂooding not just deteriorates the func-
tion of building and infrastructures, but also badly inﬂuences
the quality of living environment and life (e.g. health and san-
itation condition) in the affected areas (Abidin et al., 2011). It
is now accepted that potential losses due to land subsidence
Figure 4. Impacts of land subsidence on ﬂooding phenomena.
in Jakarta are actually quite signiﬁcant (Ward et al., 2011;
Viets, 2010). In this case, the development and maintenance
costs of building and infrastructures in the affected areas are
usually higher than the normal situation. The related social
and environmental costs due to direct and indirect impacts of
land subsidence are also signiﬁcant.
3 Impacts of Land Subsidence on Flooding
Phenomena In Jakarta
On-going land subsidence in several areas of Jakarta will
have spatial relation with repeated ﬂooding during the rainy
seasons in certain areas. Land subsidence in ﬂooding prone
area will theoretically lead to expanded coverage and deeper
water depth of ﬂooded (inundated) areas, as illustrated in
Fig. 4. In coastal areas affected by land subsidence, sea level
rise and high tide will usually worsen the situation. More-
over, changes of water ﬂow pattern in drainage, canal and
river systems passing the subsidence area, may also affect
ﬂooding system in the respected area.
Since 2000 up to now, at least there are four major ﬂood-
ing in Jakarta, namely on 26 January–1 February 2002, 4–
14 February 2007, 15–24 January 2013, and 15–27 Jan-
uary 2014. If the land subsidence affected areas as derived by
Leveling, GPS and InSAR are compared with the ﬂooded ar-
eas in Jakarta during the 2000, 2007 and 2013 major ﬂooding
(see Figs. 5 to 7), it can be realized that there are some spatial
correlations between land subsidence and ﬂooding affected
areas. Several ﬂooded areas are spatially coincided with the
subsidence affected areas; while several ﬂooded areas along
the rivers do not show spatial correlation with subsidence
phenomena. It should be noted in Fig. 6 that, the water depths
in the ﬂooded areas during 2007 ﬂooding are also spatially
coincided with magnitudes of land subsidence in the period
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18 H. Z. Abidin et al.: Urban development, land subsidence and ﬂooding phenomena in Jakarta
Figure 5. Spatial correlation between leveling-derived land subsidence (1982–1997) and ﬂooding area in Jakarta (2002).
Figure 6. Spatial correlation between GPS-derived land subsidence (2000–2011) and ﬂooding area in Jakarta (2007).
of 2000 to 2011. However, more quantitative picture of this
correlation still needs to be elaborated and modeled.
4 Closing remarks
Although land subsidence phenomena in Jakarta has been
studied since 1980s, the detail characteristics and mecha-
nisms of land subsidence in Jakarta, both in spatial and tem-
poral domains, are still not yet fully established. It is how-
ever understood that there is a strong linkage between land
subsidence and urban development process in Jakarta. Land
subsidence itself will theoretically have direct and indirect
affects with the ﬂooding in Jakarta, both in coastal or inland
In general, from this study it can be concluded that quali-
tatively there is certain spatial correlation between land sub-
sidences affected areas with ﬂooded (inundated) areas in
Jakarta. The exact mechanism of the two phenomena relation
is however still not yet fully revealed; and more quantitative
picture of this correlation still needs to be ﬁgured out. In this
regard, several activities are required, such as: detail mapping
of the spatial and temporal rates and impacts of land subsi-
dence, detail mapping of ﬂooded (inundated) area during the
ﬂooding events, and detail ﬂood risk modelling for Jakarta.
In this detail ﬂood risk modelling, the direct and indirect
impacts of urban development and land subsidence, should
be properly taken into account besides the prime movers fac-
tors of ﬂooding in Jakarta as illustrated in Fig. 8. Research
related to quantitative relation between land subsidence and
ﬂooding phenomena in Jakarta is now undergoing.
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H. Z. Abidin et al.: Urban development, land subsidence and ﬂooding phenomena in Jakarta 19
Figure 7. Spatial correlation between InSAR-derived land subsidence (2007–2011) and ﬂooding area in Jakarta (2013).
Figure 8. Flood risk modeling which incorporates land subsidence
phenomena in Jakarta.
Acknowledgements. Land subsidence study in Jakarta has been
conducted since 1997 using several research grants from Ministry
of Science, Technology, and Higher Education of Indonesia, from
the Provincial Government of Jakarta, and from ITB Research pro-
grams. The GPS surveys were conducted by the Geodesy Research
Group of ITB, the Geospatial Agency of Indonesia, and the staffs
and students from the Department of Geodesy and Geomatics En-
gineering of ITB.
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