Stretch of Kallang River gets $86 million upgrade, with flood protection and water features

Lim Min Zhang Straits Times 7 Sep 19;

SINGAPORE - A 1.8km stretch along Kallang River has received a facelift, to make it not only more attractive, but also a better defence against the onslaught of rain.

The four-year, $86-million project called ABC Waters @ Kallang River is meant to boost flood protection for residents in the area, as well as to strengthen the canal's structural integrity.

With the canal wider and deeper, drainage capacity has been increased by 80 per cent.

The drainage improvement works by national water agency PUB at Singapore's longest river was completed recently and unveiled on Saturday (Sept 7), at an event attended by Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MPs Ng Eng Hen and Chong Kee Hiong. Dr Ng is also Defence Minister.

Previously, this part of the canal, between Bishan and Braddell roads, was plain concrete and did not have such water features.

Features to beautify the area include a naturalised slope, small islands with plants, and water cascades which help the water to flow from a higher elevation. However, the canal is not accessible to the public due to safety reasons. A meandering stream, meant to enhance the look of the canal, is the first to be located within a canal in Singapore.

Said Mr Yeo Keng Soon, PUB's director of catchment and waterways: "This stretch of the Kallang River was built in the 1970s and has reached its structural lifespan.

"With the upgrading, it can now convey 80 per cent more rainwater than before, providing better flood protection for residents to cater to potentially more frequent and intense rainfall events due to climate change," he added.

As part of the makeover, PUB also worked with the National Parks Board to develop the Kallang Linear Park along the river between Bishan Stadium and Block 165 Bishan Street 13.

PUB is also constructing a cycling ramp over Kallang River to be completed by the end of this year (2019). The ramp will connect cyclists from Bishan to downtown Singapore in the future.

The project is the latest of six ABC Waters @ Kallang River projects. ABC stands for Active, Beautiful, and Clean. The ABC Waters Programme was started in 2006 to spruce up water bodies here.

Since the 1990s, PUB has been upgrading the drainage infrastructure at Kallang River, which measures 10km and runs from Lower Peirce Reservoir to Marina Reservoir.

The agency has also been carrying out island-wide works to upgrade drains, in preparation for the possibility of more frequent and intense storms with climate change.

Bishan resident of 18 years Jason Cheong, said that the upgraded section with its greenery has given him extra reason to visit it.

Said the 45-year-old, who is a clients operations manager at Eagle Investment Systems: "The river, together with the fishes and birds there, is an ideal place to unwind after a stressful week at work."