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On course to improving water quality in Singapore

Web Earth’s expertise in water management is playing an important role in a project to transform Singapore’s Kallang River and meet the challenges of climate change.

The work is part of the Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) Programme initiated by Public Utilities Board (PUB), which manages the country’s water supply and drainage.

It is a pioneering, long-term initiative to transform the country’s water assets beyond their functions of drainage and water supply, into vibrant, new spaces for community bonding and recreation.

It is taking place amid a backdrop of changing rainfall patterns and urbanisation which means much greater volumes of storm water are being generated from impermeable surfaces and roofs.

Flash floods caused by heavy rainfall have already prompted changes in the regulations on how to manage water in Singapore.

The Kallang River is the longest river in Singapore and flows for 10 kilometres through the centre of the island from the Lower Peirce Reservoir to Marina Reservoir.

In the 1960s and 1970s, concrete drains and canals, including Kallang River along Bishan Park, were built to alleviate widespread flooding.

The ABC project looks to break down the ‘concrete channel approach’ to create a naturalised waterway that can meet the challenges of uncertain weather conditions and increased urbanisation.

Web Earth’s work is helping to regenerate and re-naturalise that concrete channel - recreating the natural processes that will improve water quality, reduce stormwater flows and improve and biodiversity.

Rain gardens and retention ponds have been created along the course of the Kallang to capture and treat runoff from surrounding areas before it enters the river.

Web Earth’s work aims to reduce peak storm water flows into the drainage system to prevent urban flooding downstream. It is also focusing on improving water quality, reducing the need for its treatment when it reaches the reservoir.

These projects also help get people closer to water to enjoy recreational activities along the riverbank.

Web Earth has been working with local schools on educational projects and the adoption of rain gardens and swales for future maintenance.

Richard Outhwaite director of Web Earth explained: “We make sure that water is managed throughout the treatment, from source to conveyance and retention.

“Our team of water specialists and certified ABC professionals are also working with PUB to enhance the existing drainage network.”

He added: “The issue of dealing with storm water is becoming increasingly important in Singapore and will remain so in the future. It is a problem that has to be dealt with.

“From January last year, all new industrial, commercial, institutional and residential developments with a site area greater than 2,000m² have been required to control the peak runoff discharged from the site to what would be the natural undeveloped condition, up to a return period of 10 years and for various storm durations.”

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