Rain gardens among makeover plans for 20 PUB water projects

Eight schools to benefit from the Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters programme
LOUISA TANG Today Online 21 Mar 16;

SINGAPORE — Twenty more waterways and water bodies will be getting a facelift within the next five years under national water agency PUB’s Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) programme.

These projects, announced as the ABC Waters programme reached its 10-year mark, include a new initiative to teach young children about water quality and habitat creation through the building of “rain gardens” in schools.

These rain gardens, which will be built in eight schools and slated for completion by the second quarter of next year, are designed to absorb rainwater run-off, so students can have hands-on testing of water quality from the rain gardens, for example.

The water bodies getting a makeover include Jurong Lake, Kallang Riverside, Alkaff Lake (Bidadari Pond), Sungei Simpang Kanan, Chestnut Drive Outlet Drain, Sungei Whampoa and Bukit Batok West Outlet Drain.

At Bidadari estate, the PUB is constructing a detention pond, which temporarily stores excess rainwater, to be integrated with the upcoming HDB development and park space.

The Kallang Riverside project will also feature detention ponds, rain gardens and bio-retention swales, which will be incorporated in private development plots.

Three projects also broke ground yesterday at Hougang Avenue 10, Sungei Pinang and Serangoon Reservoir.

At Sungei Pinang, for example, the PUB will be building a new bridge to connect Punggol Park with the Housing Development Board (HDB) estates opposite, besides beautifying the riverbanks.

Residents living near the new projects whom TODAY spoke to welcomed the future changes.

Undergraduate Mark Cheong, who lives in Eastwood Green condominium, close to Bedok Canal, said he thought it “has been a long time coming”.

Under the Bedok Canal project, about 1.2km of the banks will be enhanced with greenery, while two neighbourhood parks — Eastwood Park and Bedok Ria — will be refurbished and designed to be integrated with the waterway.

“A lot of people live, exercise and travel along the canal, so sprucing it up would definitely make it much more pleasant.

“Right now, while the park connector may be great, the canal itself can be a bit of an eyesore with dirty water and stained seawalls,” the 24-year-old added.

Civil servant Gillian Chan, 23, who lives at Hougang Avenue 10, said the PUB should consider improving upon the communal space to be built there.

Basic shower facilities or even facilities for dogs, for example, could make it “more than a regular park” she added.

Nine other projects are in progress and all will be completed by 2018.

Over at Pang Sua Pond in Bukit Panjang, for example, the PUB is currently building a boardwalk connecting residents to amenities such as the Senja-Cashew Community Club, two lookout decks as well as a fixed performance stage on the water for residents to use.

In a media briefing last week, the PUB also gave an update on its target of revitalising 100 water bodies and waterways by 2030 under the ABC Waters programme.

So far, 32 projects have been completed, including the flagship project at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.

Commenting on the progress of the ABC Waters programme, Mr Kavickumar Muruganathan, head of eco-certifications and lead environmental engineer at the Singapore Environment Council (SEC), said rejuvenating water bodies creates a conducive ecosystem for greater biodiversity, such as the famous otter family at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.

“PUB got the model right by bringing the heartlands near to water ... people can get up close to it and cherish it as a natural resource,” he said.

The SEC used to administer the ABC Waters Learning Trails programme to primary and secondary schools up until last year.

They also helped develop syllabuses that taught students the history and geography of a water body, and gave them hands-on activities such as measuring the pH value of water.

Waterways Watch Society chairman Eugene Heng said that while the programme’s intentions were “very commendable and noble”, the bigger challenge was how residents would keep the water bodies clean.

“Very often we find them being used wrongly ... people fish at non-fishing zones, use live bait when they’re not supposed to, and there’s trash everywhere,” he said.

The PUB could work with community centres and neighbourhood centres on a programme that promotes social responsibility among its residents, he suggested.

“It’s not a question about bringing in more cleaners or putting more bins around. It’s about inculcating a culture from when you start school that our water bodies should be kept clean. What’s the point of making them beautiful if they’re going to be dirty afterwards?” Mr Heng added.


20 more waterways upgrading projects in next 5 years
Today Online 20 Mar 16;

SINGAPORE – Twenty projects to upgrade water bodies like rivers and canals around the island will be completed over the next five years, according to the Public Utilities Board (PUB).

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong officiated at the groundbreaking ceremony in Hougang for three of these three Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) projects on Sunday (March 20).

The three projects are at Hougang Avenue 10, Sungei Pinang and Serangoon Reservoir. These projects are part of the Housing and Development Board’s Remaking Our Heartland Programme for Hougang.

In his speech, Mr Lee said that the ABC projects have been a success.

“We have developed our waterways... not just for functional purposes so that we have... water to drink and to use but also for recreation and to improve our living environment,” he added.

The project will start from the junction of Hougang Avenue 4 and runs along Hougang Avenue 10 to Sungei Pinang next to Punggol Park. It will continue on to Serangoon Reservoir, stretching about 2.2km in total.

The project is expected to be completed by 2018.

Some 1,500 residents attended the event on Sunday. The groundbreaking ceremony was held in conjunction with the Hibiscus Family Carnival organised by Sengkang South Grassroots Organisation in the Hibiscus precinct of the division.


Makeover of three water bodies in Hougang to be completed in three years
LOUISA TANG Today Online 21 Mar 16;

Decks for residents to relax on and hold community events, a new pedestrian bridge and a fishing spot along the edge of the Serangoon Reservoir.

These are features that Hougang residents can look forward to when three water bodies in the town are revitalised under the PUB’s Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) programme.

These three latest projects were unveiled yesterday at a groundbreaking ceremony officiated by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. About 1,500 residents attended the event.

Visitors also got to view a photo exhibition, titled SG Blue Spaces: In Seasons, featuring eight of Mr Lee’s personal works, some of which were taken at ABC Waters sites.

A 1.3km stretch of the canal along Hougang Avenue 10, between Hougang Avenue 4 and Buangkok Drive, will be enhanced with additional greenery along the canal edge.

The existing pedestrian bridge at Block 458, Hougang Avenue 10, will be reconstructed to a deck, which will connect the bus stop and housing blocks.

At Sungei Pinang, about 700m of the waterway banks will be enhanced with greenery, while a pedestrian bridge will be constructed across it to connect the housing estates and amenities in the vicinity.

A 200m stretch of Serangoon Reservoir will also undergo a makeover.

New community and recreational spaces for residents and park users, as well as viewing decks that integrate the reservoir and the park connector, will be built.

Fishing enthusiasts will also have a new fishing spot along the edge of the reservoir.

Works on all three projects are slated to begin next month and will be completed within three years, said national water agency PUB. LOUISA TANG


20 more ABC Waters projects to be completed in next 5 years
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong officiated the groundbreaking ceremony of three projects under the ABC Waters programme on Sunday.
Liyana Othman Channel NewsAsia 20 Mar 16;

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s heartlands will soon enjoy enhanced waterbodies and waterways, along with new recreational and community spaces, as some 20 more projects under the Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) Programme are slated to be completed over the next five years.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong officiated the groundbreaking ceremony on Sunday (Mar 20) of three of these projects at Hougang Avenue 10, Sungei Pinang and Serangoon Reservoir, which are also part of HDB’s Remaking Our Heartland Programme for Hougang. It stretches about 2.2km, and is expected to be completed by 2018.

“It’s double celebration today because we're breaking ground for three ABC Waters projects in Hougang Town, and we're also celebrating the 10th anniversary of the ABC Waters project," said Mr Lee.

"The ABC Waters project has been a great success. We've developed our waterways, our reservoirs and lakes, not just for functional purposes so that we have water to collect to drink and to use but also for recreation and to improve our living environment, and we've been able to build new community spaces that are clean, pleasant, full of life."

The ABC Waters Programme also aims to encourage the public to become guardians of the nation’s water resources. And this time, it’s starting young. National water agency PUB will build rain gardens at eight schools this year, which will serve as outdoor classrooms where students can learn about water and nature.

In addition, PUB will work with other government agencies to widen the adoption of ABC Waters concepts, like looking into a creating a framework to guide developers in integrating the design of their new developments with nearby waterways.

Over the last decade, 32 ABC Waters projects have been completed across the island. Another 54 ABC Waters certified projects were undertaken by private developers and other public agencies. To commemorate its 10th anniversary, PUB has rolled out a series of exhibits to bring the programme closer to the community, one of which showcased Mr Lee’s personal photographs of Singapore’s water spaces.

- CNA/rw

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