Undergraduate students conducting research on Dompas Action Arena

Two Civil Engineering undergraduate students (one male and one female) from University of Riau, namely Muhammad Randy Alfath and Novalin Putri, are conducting research in Dompas village. Their respective research is entitled: 1) Effectivity of peat rewetting, a case study from Dompas village, Bukit Batu sub-district, Bengkalis district; and 2) Analysis of speed and direction of groundwater movement on the peatlands of Dompas village, Bengkalis district. Both students are supervised by Dr. Eng. Sigit Sutikno, a hydrological engineering expert from the Center for Disaster Study, University of Riau who has been actively involved in the PAR CBFPR project.

The first research project, on the effectivity of peat rewetting, is conducted in response to recurring peatland fires in Indonesia, particularly in the province of Riau. A significant number of dry and degraded peatlands are fire-prone during the long drought season. The objectives of this research are therefore to monitor and analyze the impacts of canal blocking construction in terms of rewetting the dry degraded peatland. The research is expected to help contribute to the fire prevention and peatland restoration effort. To achieve the objectives, the student has conducted a literature study and collected primary data, for example data on groundwater table levels at each dipwell monitoring station. This data will then be analyzed for groundwater level and elevation.

The second research project, on speed and direction of groundwater movement, is conducted to assess the current trend in peatland restoration of canal blocking. Some canal blockings are found to cause uncontrolled fluctuations and dynamics in groundwater movement, which may hamper peatland restoration efforts. This research therefore uses a velocimeter to help analyze the speed and direction of groundwater movement. The results of analysis will help to improve future rewetting efforts. Using a Dompas Action Arena as the case study area, this research begins with desk literature, followed with primary data collection. Groundwater level data, from the water level monitoring dipwells as well as the groundwater velocimeter, will be processed, analyzed and valued for its speed and direction of movement.