Waduk Sermo,Sermo Dam,Kulonprogo,Yogyakarta,Wates
By Irfan Nugroho
I first came to Sermo Dam on May 17th, 2009. As first I touched the soil around the dam, a friend of mine said, “Formerly, this area was a people’s settlement before finally they were uprooted fiercely from here to be settled in afar there.”

Yes, to build this dam, 107 families were transmigrated to Bengkulu and Riau provinces, on the island of Sumatra, by the regime of New Order under the power of Indonesia’s second president, Soeharto.

No matter what, some of the native inhabitants remain to stay here, even though the dam cannot promise better economic welfare amidst the dam’s status as “the only lake tourism in Yogyakarta.”

This dam has not been managed well, however. There are no ticket retribution, no food stall, no placard, no information center, and no crowd. So if you like to have a tranquil vacation, this is the place.

Sermo Dam seems like a pristine dam, even though the project to build this dam costed about IDR 22 billion rupiahs. It was first built on March 1st, 1994, by damming the Ngrancah River, and officially opened by the second president of Indonesia, Soeharto, in November 20th, 1996.

The dam lies at a green highland of Menoreh at Hargowilis Village, Kokap Sub-district, Kulonprogo District, Yogyakarta Province, Indonesia. This is about seven kilometers away from Wates City, or about 37 kilometers away from the heart of Yogyakarta. And if you have ever visited Borobudur Temple, so the dam is about 60 kilometers away from it.

In its early years, there were tourism facilities like a floating food stall, shelters, ticket retribution, and fishing equpment rentals. Indeed, the dam was likewise the best spot for fishing, as a friend of mine had once told me that he had ever got a big fish, whose size was almost the same as a 10 year boy, at the dam.

I like to say that the dam was a crowd tourist destination in the past. Now, the dam has turned to a tranquil tourist destination as it was left neglected by the Yogyakarta’s Provincial Government as authority over the management of the dam.

When I visited the dam in May 2009, there was no ticket retribution to enter the destination. And when I had a fishing there, there were only fishes from “red devil” species. There are no big fishes anymore because indeed, the red devil eats another fish. As the population of the red devil grows up higher, this is a threat to another species.

Finally, though the dam is left neglected after cries from the uprooted people followed its making, I’d like to say that I enjoy its tranquility very much. There are only green scenery, turquoise water, the light winding breeze, and awesome panoramic views that meet my photographic sense.

Waduk Sermo (Sermo Dam)
The making:
March 1st, 1994 – November 20th, 1996
157 hectare
Water capacity:
25 million cubic water
Hargowilis Village, Kokap Sub-district, Kulonprogo District, Yogyakarta Province, Indonesia.
Seventy kilometers east of Borobudur Temple in Magelang District, Central Java
Thirty seven kilometers west of Yogyakarta City

Seven kilometers west of Wates District, Yogyakarta Province