- POSTED: 05 Jan 2014 00:49
- UPDATED: 05 Jan 2014 22:46
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A portion of Geylang River has been given a new lease of life, as part of a blueprint for beautiful and clean waterways. It is the 23rd completed project under the Active, Beautiful, Clean (ABC) Waters programme by national water agency PUB.
SINGAPORE: From a smelly river in the 1960s to a vibrant waterway today that connects the community, Geylang River was officially opened on Sunday evening by MP for Marine Parade GRC, Fatimah Lateef.
The river was given a facelift under PUB's Active, Beautiful, Clean (ABC) Waters programme.
At the opening ceremony, residents in the Geylang Serai area were also treated to an evening of songs and dance.
To preserve the rich heritage of the area, PUB weaved in architectural and landscaping elements adopting the Malay Water Village concept along the 850-metre stretch of the Geylang River - which spans from Dunman Road to Guillemard Road.
Assoc Prof Fatimah Lateef said: "The water works as you can see have also been widened and deepened. That will also help to alleviate the flooding problem in the vicinity."
Today's Geylang River is a far cry from what it was when Madam Fu Chuan San moved to the area a decade ago.
She said: "When I moved in here, the river was very dirty and very narrow. Even the grass was very messy. But after the ABC project, you can see the river is very wide, very nice and the water is very clean."
After some S$39 million and two years of improvement works, the 850-metre stretch of river is now revitalised.
The improvements reflect the area's heritage as a former Malay fishing village - railings resemble stilts of a kelong; while Pondoks, or traditional Malay-style pavilions, have been built as rest areas.
Walls along the river bank have also been spruced up with plants to make the area look more inviting.
The existing Geylang Park Connector has been extended, enabling people to get to and from Dakota MRT station more easily.
Tweaks have also been made to the structure of the canal. The canal's base previously resembled an inverted trapezium. It is now shaped like a 'U'.
Other ongoing improvements to be completed by the end of the year will enable the river to hold 30 per cent more water.
This means areas in Macpherson, Paya Lebar and Mountbatten will be better protected during heavy rain.
Mak Min Foong, an engineer with the catchment and water department at the PUB, said: "By having these drainage improvement works, we actually increase the capacity of Geylang River, which increases the flood protection of the area."
There is also a rain garden that cleans water flowing from the surrounding areas into the river.
The rain garden and how it works is completely organic - water is absorbed into the ground, and then three layers of different kinds of soil filter out impurities like sediment and nutrients. The water then flows out into a side drain underneath the pavement, before travelling out to the river 80 per cent cleaner.
Ms Mak added: "In every ABC waters project, we hope to incorporate these clean features, not just rain gardens, probably also wetlands and bio-retension swales.
"All these clean features can help to treat the runoff naturally and by having these design features islandwide, we hope to have a cleaner catchment area for Singapore."
PUB said at least 20 other ABC Waters projects will take place over the next five years.