El Niño, planet earth’s mischievous “little boy,” meddled in Indonesia’s weather patterns this winter with all his might. His antics resulted in warmer temperatures and drier conditions throughout the region. In Tembagapura, his formidable presence was often felt when typical wet afternoons and evenings turned into long runs of rainless days and rainless nights. The most severe months were June, July, and the first couple of weeks of August, when Tembagapura looked and felt like a dustbowl.
Without rain, the surrounding waterfalls turned into bare rock, and the rivers turned into exposed riverbeds, both of which threatened the town’s and mine’s water supply. As a result, necessary water restrictions were implemented. For weeks at a time, the water was turned off between the hours of 10:00AM and 4:00PM, and, again, between 10:00PM and 4:00AM. Although, it wasn’t unusual to see those restrictions extended well after 4:00PM and well before 10:00PM.
El Niño continues to create warm and dry conditions in Tembagapura. Fortunately, he is beginning to exercise some mercy by sending us intermittent rain showers to refill the parched water supply systems. There is nothing more uplifting than the sound of beating rain against the rainforest floor; signifying a short reprieve from our neighborhood’s ongoing water restrictions.