Jakarta suffers from an ineffective but at the same time relatively expensive water supply system. The Tap water coverage 59.4% of the megacity, is a low amount and represents only a very limited increase from 44.5% in 1998 . Meanwhile, infrastructure is in bad shape with the leakage level as high as 44 percent and even when access to piped water is available, water quality is poor . Bad quality reflects itself in muddy, smelly water that can cause skin irritations.
Consequently, those who can afford it resort to deepwater drilling and consume the cleaner deep-level groundwater instead of piped water. As a result, the land on which large parts of the city are built is sinking. While 40 percent of Jakarta is already below sea level, with the current rate it is expected that North Jakarta, inhabited by relatively poorer parts of the society is at danger to be completely under water within the next decade . That makes the whole metropolitan area more vulnerable to extreme weather events such as floods and creates a highly unequal social outcome . Financially this is enforced since customers and citizens suffer from up to 10% increases in tariffs, making water cost much higher than in other cities. Outages are frequent and resulted in 40,000 complaints regarding tap water deficiency in 2013 alone .
The majority of these conditions result from a contract between public Jakarta Drinking Water Utility (PAM Jaya), which oversees the contracts with two private concessionaires: PT PAM Lyonnaise Jaya (Palyja), which is majority-owned by Suez and Aetra Air Jakarta  owned by Singapore-based Acuatico since 2007. The private-public water supply system followed a World Bank infrastructure and loan strategy, pushing privatization in Indonesia . Ever since, the former operator distributes water in west Jakarta, while the east is served by the latter. Water workers which were transferred to the private companies after the concession reported the unclear and sometimes precarious contractual situations. Workers with older contracts never received a basic salary raise since privatization while others with new contracts enjoy better social, safety, and health standards, as well as higher wages .
Resistance against water privatization existed since water concessions were given to private operators and first sustained through water workers and union protests against precarious working conditions and restructuring by private actors . It gained momentum in 2011 when the Coalition of Jakarta Residents Opposing Water Privatization (KMMSAJ) was formed by residents, water workers, and civil society organizations. The coalition has organized various strategies including rallies, public discussions and policy dialogues and requesting information disclosure, circulating petitions, and filing lawsuits.
In January 2012, an alleged corruption case against PAM Jaya and the two private operators as well as government officials were started. Another Citizen Lawsuit was filed in the same year  claiming that the companies failed to guarantee people’s right to clean water. The coalition won its case in the Jakarta District Court in 2015 and after two years the Supreme Court upheld its constitutionality . Based on Article 5 of Law Number 17 Year 2019 concerning Water Resources (“SDA Law”) and Article 5 of the SDA Law, Article 7 it was argued that “Water Resources are controlled by the state and used for the greatest prosperity of the people” and “Water Resources cannot be owned and / or controlled by individuals, community groups, or business entities” .
Finally, in 2019 Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan announced that his administration was planning to retake control of tap water management from private firms Aetra and PT PAM Lyonnaise Jaya (Palyja). Civil society actors claim that such a proceeding needs a clear structured roadmap by PAM Jaya and the government to establish a holistic strategy on infrastructure development, financial arrangement, and human capital.
As it was shown in many European cities, the movement stresses that a participative and democratic solution is needed to reach the declared goal of water remunicipalization . By appealing to Article 33 paragraph (3) of the Constitution, declaring that water should be directed towards people's livelihood, nature, and agricultural reproduction and should thus be in public hands, the movement is pressuring the governor to fulfill political promises .