Sinking city: Indonesia's capital on the brink of disaster
Decades of uncontrolled and excessive depletion of groundwater reserves, rising sea-levels, and increasingly volatile weather patterns mean swathes of the Indonesian capital Jakarta has already started to disappear
One-third of the city could be submerged by 2050
Time is running out for Jakarta which is one of the fastest-sinking cities on earth.
Environmental experts warn that one-third of the city could be submerged by 2050 if current rates continue.
Swathes of it have already started to disappear
Decades of uncontrolled and excessive depletion of groundwater reserves, rising sea-levels, and increasingly volatile weather patterns mean swathes of it have already started to disappear.
The nation will have a new capital
Existing environmental measures have had little impact, so authorities are taking drastic action: the nation will have a new capital.
Relocating the country's administrative and political heart may be an act of national preservation, but it effectively sounds the death-knell for Jakarta where many of the city's 10 million residents have little means of escape.
Unchecked development, heavy traffic, and poor urban planning
Built-in an earthquake zone, on swamplands, near the confluence of 13 rivers, the city's foundations have been further stressed by unchecked development, heavy traffic, and poor urban planning.
Rampant groundwater extraction
Jakarta doesn't have a piped water system in its northern reaches, so local industry and millions of residents tap into its aquifers.
This rampant groundwater extraction causes land subsidence, which is making Jakarta sink by as much as 25 centimetres (10 inches) a year in some areas double the global average for major coastal cities.
Today some parts of it sit some four metres below sea level, irrevocably changing the landscape, and leaving millions vulnerable to natural disasters.
Flooding is common during the tropical nation's wet season and that is expected to get worse as sea levels rise due to global warming.
Solution for Jakarta?
Even as President Joko Widodo presses on with the plan for a 21st century capital in Borneo island, local authorities are desperately probing solutions for Jakarta.
A scheme to construct artificial islands in Jakarta's bay, which would act as a buffer against the Java Sea, as well as a vast coastal wall was approved.
But there is no guarantee the estimated $40 billion projects which have been beset by years of delays would solve the city's sinking woes.
Building barriers has been tried before. A concrete wall was built along the shore in Randi's district and other high-risk neighbourhoods.
But they have cracked and show signs of sinking already. Water seeps through them, soaking the maze of narrow streets and shacks in the city's poorest neighbourhoods.
Why is the city sinking?
The hub of Southeast Asia's biggest economy has seen breakneck development over the years. New buildings and skyscrapers are compressing the ground, which aggravates its sinking problem.
But the biggest culprit is excessive groundwater extraction, and the city has no way to meet demand without it due to a lack of water-retention facilities or a comprehensive piping network, according to earth scientist Heri Andreas.
Jakarta is not the only sinking urban centre
Cities from Venice and Shanghai to New Orleans and Bangkok are also at risk, but Jakarta has done little to tackle the problem head-on, Andreas added.