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  The Straits Times 30 May 06
$23m set aside for first phase of river, reservoir upgrading

By Radha Basu

Channelnews Asia 29 May 06
PUB to invest $23m in development of ABC master plan
By Hasnita A Majid, Channel NewsAsia

The Public Utilities Board will invest $23 million in the development of its Active, Beautiful and Clean Waters (ABC) master plan.

This includes the enhancement of Bedok and MacRitchie reservoirs and the pilot project along Kallang River at Kolam Ayer. This was announced at a seminar where details of the development of the Kallang River were revealed.

The whole 10 km stretch of Kallang River - from Kallang Basin all the way to Lower Pierce Reservoir - is slated for a major transformation. It will be divided into three different zones to create a distinct river identity.

The stretch from Kallang Basin to Bendemeer, for example, will be developed with its historical background of early settlers there being taken into account. That will see a heritage trail with art installation along the waterfront area.

The area from Potong Pasir to Bishan East will see more activities catered to the schools and institutions around there.

And the stretch from Toa Payoh North to Lower Pierce Reservoir will build on the nature reserves and the lush greenery at its adjacent lands.

Yap Kheng Guan, Director of 3P Network, PUB, said: "(As with the ABC programme,) it's a way to transform the water bodies in which the society can draw the most out of its otherwise functional asset. It's actually a very interesting and exciting proposition - how to turn something functional into something that can provide a new lifestyle venue for Singaporeans."

Two Watershed Managers will help do just that. One is CH2M Hill, an international leader in water resource development that will help develop the master plan for the central catchment area which includes the Kallang River. The other is CPG Consultants, which will focus on the eastern catchment areas.

CH2M Hill's Herbert Dreiseitl said: "One aspect that's totally important is the safety. For safety, we stand by our expertise to see how we can get near water and still be safe....what happens when a sudden storm comes and these waters rise up, how we can get rid of barriers like a fence."

CPG Consultants' Peter How said: "Three areas come to mind, Seletar, Punggol and Serangoon. They come quite close together and it is actually possible to dam the area to form one big interconnected water body."

A demonstration project planned along a 200m stretch of the Kallang River will serve as a platform to test some of the features that will be adopted at the other water bodies in future.

One good example of how a water body can add value to the development of the surrounding areas is the Singapore River. Once part of a sewer system, it underwent a 10-year clean-up to become what it is today - with its waterfront areas rehabilitated to include F&B outlets and alfresco dining.

PUB says that it will set up an inter-agency working committee to identify potential projects to be integrated with waterways. - CNA/ir

The Straits Times 30 May 06
$23m set aside for first phase of river, reservoir upgrading

By Radha Basu

SINGAPORE'S sleepy rivers and reservoirs are to get a multi- million-dollar makeover to make them buzz with watersports and other recreational activities. Boardwalks, riverfront viewing galleries and lush layers of green will beautify most of Singapore's 14 reservoirs and 32 rivers as part of the Public Utilities Board's Active, Beautiful and Clean Waters (ABC) programme.

In the first phase of the project, the PUB will spend $23 million over the next two years to upgrade Bedok and MacRitchie reservoirs and a stretch of Kallang River at Kolam Ayer, the PUB said yesterday.

Other water bodies earmarked for development at a later stage include Pandan Reservoir, Jurong Lake, Sungei Punggol, Sungei Serangoon and Sungei Bedok. Funds for the subsequent phases of the programme will be announced later.

At a seminar yesterday, PUB chief executive Khoo Teng Chye urged design, landscape and property management companies to offer proposals to 'better integrate water bodies into the urban landscape'.

The PUB will amend the current codes of practice for drainage to allow builders more leeway to make creative use of water in urban design. 'As long as the drainage needs are fulfilled, building professionals will be free to develop ideas that are creative,' said Mr Khoo. Details of the amendments will be released later.

Some creative ideas that are already part of the Singapore landscape include fountains that add life to a stagnant monsoon drain on the Temasek Polytechnic campus, and the use of mangroves to beautify the concrete banks of Sungei Api Api in Pasir Ris.

The PUB will also marshal the services of private consultants, and other government agencies such as the National Parks Board (NParks) and Housing & Development Board, to help flesh out some of the beautification plans. Yesterday, it appointed private consultants CH2M Hill and CPG Consultants to devise and implement beautification projects in the central and eastern catchment areas.

One of the biggest projects on the drawing board is based on the Kallang River Masterplan, which seeks to transform the face of Singapore's longest river. The project was conceived by the NParks as part of an inter-agency endeavour to make Singapore clean and green.

The 10km river has been divided into three zones, each of which will have a different landscaping theme, said NParks landscape architect Damian Tang. The historic downtown Kampong Bugis area, where the river meets the sea, could be the focus of riverside heritage walks in which visitors relive the experience of the Biduanda Orang Kallang, an indigenous fishing community that occupied the area in the 18th century. Other parts of the river bank may be decked in greenery, or transformed into trendy waterside eateries. CH2M Hill will study the masterplan to see how best to implement it.

Water bodies on Singapore's north-east eastern shores are also in for a transformation. CPG Consultants is working on plans to dam the lower courses of the Punggol and Serangoon rivers and form an interconnected 10km-long waterway, said executive vice-president Peter How. 'The plan is to develop watersports and other recreational activities in the area,' he said.

Related articles on Singapore: general environmental issues
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