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The same is true for the rest of the half-dozen sewage-choked rivers that wind though central Jakarta. The reason these conduits are necessary is that Greater Jakarta, an agglomeration of 28 million people, sits on a swampy plain that has sunk 13 feet (4 meters) over the past three decades. “Jakarta is a bowl, and the bowl is sinking,” said Fook Chuan Eng, senior water and sanitation specialist with the World Bank, who oversees a $189 million flood mitigation project for the city. The entire sprawl of Jakarta’s north coast - fishing ports, boatyards, markets, warehouses, fish farms, crowded slums and exclusive gated communities - it’s all sinking.