TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The simple and unpretentious figure presented a warm impression as we started our conversation with the Englishman. He was Alan Thompson, the President Director of PT PAM Lyonnaise Jaya (PALYJA), who started his career in Indonesia in September 2015.
Alan Thompson has more than 30 years of experience in in the supply and management of potable as well as waste water. Having worked in several different countries, the man who graduated from Public Health Engineering, University of New Castle United decided to serve in PALYJA.
Alan revealed, “Indonesia is certainly the largest challenge in my entire career. There are plenty things to be done here, while cooperating with PT PAM JAYA in developing Water Treatment Plants. The challenge is how we can provide clean water supply with affordable price.”
With his experience as the Senior Vice President of Technical Services in Suez North America Group, Alan said, “The price of water in the United States of America is very high. They are supported by infrastructure that has been continuously improved for decades, so all we had to do was developing a smart solution, an application that is connected with mobile phones and computers to read water meters. Within twenty minutes, the water operator can provide the information related to the volume of water used.”
“In Hong Kong, China, a lot of hotels utilize sea water for their clean water supply. Furthermore, in Singapore, they have processed sea water to become potable water,” explained Alan, who had also worked in China as Executive Vice President of Sino French Water from 2010 to 2015.
Under Alan Thompson, PALYJA had started implementing the Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR) technology in West Flood Canal Installation in 2015. It was claimed to be the first ever implemented MBBR technology in Indonesia, and even in Southeast Asia. It utilizes a particle called meteor, which was developed by degremont through proprietary polyethylene biofilm carries materials, which surface can be a medium for microorganisms to grow naturally. The natural microorganisms are the ones utilized to neutralize the dissolved pollutants.
As a result, until February 2017, the volume of clean water supplied by PALYJA for Jakarta residents had significantly increased, up to 9,400 liters per second, or around 9 percent increase from earlier years, which only counted 8,600 liters per second. It was the highest production achieved by PALYJA since it started its business in 1998.
In the beginning of his career, Alan was involved in various water management projects in England. He admitted to have spent his time in scientific research laboratories in Northumbrian Water UK. Next, he started his international career in France, between 1999 and 2003, as the Chief of Potable Water Projects for Lyonnaise des Eaux in Paris, and then moved to USA to join United Water from 2003 until 2007. He has represented France within the European Union of National Associations of Water Suppliers (EUREAU) and was President of the Drinking Water Commission for this group in 2002.
Currently, the demand for clean water in Jakarta has reached 28,000 liters per second. PALYJA, cooperating with PAM JAYA and PAL JAYA, plans to make a breakthrough water supply to areas that do not have access to water resources. Alan explained, “We will build small scale water treatment installations to serve communities in northwestern Jakarta, such as Penjaringan or Kelapa Gading.”
In addition, there needs to be water saving measures. Alan admitted that he has reduced his use of tap water. “When I brush my teeth, I always turn off the tap. I tend to use douche instead of bath tub. This alone can save around 60 percent of the water used. At the same time, I also reuse the unused residual water for watering plants or other purposes. I thought, ‘There are plenty of other people who don’t have access to water.’” He said, closing our conversation during the Walk for Water event held in celebrating the World Water Day in 26th of March, 2017.