Speech by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment, at the “Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters” Seminar 2022 on 20 April 2022
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning, and welcome to the “Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters - Climate Resilient and Liveable Cities” seminar. I am heartened to see many of you in person after our virtual ABC Waters Seminar last year.
Climate Resilient and Liveable Cities
2 Climate change is one of the biggest threats facing the world today. Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent. Last month, Australia declared a national emergency in response to devastating floods along their east coast. In 2021, record-smashing heatwaves swept across North America, and a year’s worth of rain fell in Zhengzhou, China in just three days.
This has increased the focus placed on sustainability and resilience in the planning and design of infrastructure and developments by countries all over the world.
3 Today, we will hear how local and international experts have integrated creative and innovative nature-based designs into their infrastructure and building projects. It is through such platforms that we can learn best practices from one another to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Singapore Green Plan 2030
4 Many of you may be familiar with the Singapore Green Plan 2030. It is a whole-of-nation movement to advance Singapore’s national agenda on sustainable development. It comprises initiatives under five key pillars, to ensure that Singapore remains a green and liveable home, with sustainability as a new engine of growth.
5 The ABC Waters Programme is a key example of our ongoing sustainable development efforts under the City in Nature and Resilient Future pillars of the Green Plan. Launched in 2006, the ABC Waters Programme aims to transform our utilitarian drains, canals and reservoirs into beautiful streams, rivers and lakes that integrate naturally and holistically into the urban environment. The role of ABC Waters design in building a climate resilient city can be seen in the way it promotes the multifunctional use of space. The flood plains of Kallang River Bishan – Ang Mo Kio Park, for example, serves as a recreational space during dry weather but doubles up as a conveyance channel during a storm. These transformed spaces demonstrate how we can improve liveability in our urban city and achieve climate resilience at the same time.
ABC Waters Projects by PUB
6 Last month, PUB completed a new ABC Waters Project at Sungei Ulu Pandan.
It presents Singapore’s first habitat cells, which are bio-engineered features along the riverbank mimicking the natural habitat to attract wildlife and enhance biodiversity. You may have seen photos of the picturesque waterway complemented with lookout decks on PUB’s social media. These decks provide vantage points for the public to view the flora and fauna up close.
7 The upcoming ABC Waters project at Sungei Tampines is an example of how we are transforming a utilitarian canal into a partially naturalised river. Besides widening and deepening the canal to serve the new HDB residential estates in Tampines North, it was designed with a naturalised bank on one side to integrate seamlessly with the adjacent Tampines Eco Green, creating more blue-green spaces for Singaporeans staying in the heartlands. The park connector is designed to cantilever from the other bank of the waterway to overcome space constraints while enhancing connectivity for residents. When the Sungei Tampines project opens later this year, PUB would have completed a total of 51 ABC Waters projects since 2006.
8 In the next five years, the public can look forward to six more projects. To ensure the continued success of the ABC Waters Programme and achieve our vision for a more liveable Singapore, we need the support of like-minded partners in the public and private sectors who embrace sustainable, blue-green solutions in the design of our urban city.
Partnering Public Agencies and Private Developers
9 I am encouraged to see more developers incorporating ABC Waters design features in their projects since the launch of the ABC Waters Certification Scheme in 2010. This Scheme recognises public agencies and private developers who adopt the ABC Waters concept in their developments. In this regard, I would like to thank the Housing & Development Board (or HDB) for its overwhelming support of our ABC Waters Programme. In today’s seminar, we will be giving out the ABC Waters Certification to a total of 12 projects. This will bring the total number of projects with ABC Waters Certification to 102.
10 I would like to give special mention to this year’s ABC Waters Gold Certificate recipients, “The Woodleigh Residences and the Woodleigh Mall”, and the “Singapore Institute of Technology”. The Gold Certificate is awarded to entries which have achieved exceptional standards, particularly in ensuring that surface runoff from at least 40 per cent of their site area is treated by ABC Waters design features before it is channelled to our waterways.
11 The Woodleigh Residences and The Woodleigh Mall project managed to optimise the available space to treat surface runoff from about 50 per cent of the site area. The numerous rain gardens incorporated within the development also complement the overall landscape and provide a varied experience for the residents as they enjoy the communal spaces in this development.
12 The Singapore Institute of Technology, SIT, which is the other Gold Certificate recipient, has applied the concepts of sustainable design into the physical arena of its campus.
A variety of ABC Waters design features, such as the detention eco-ponds, rain gardens and cleansing biotopes, are introduced into the campus as part of the sustainable stormwater management. These features are seamlessly integrated into the campus to provide a scenic backdrop for the students and faculty members.
13 My heartiest congratulations to all developers on their ABC Waters Certification. Thank you to the teams of engineers, architects, landscape architects, and project managers who have worked tirelessly to create a more liveable Singapore through the adoption of the ABC Waters concept. I look forward to seeing more projects with elements of ABC Waters design features as we continue to create a greener and liveable environment.
14 In closing, I would like to thank the Institute of Engineers Singapore, for co-organising the ABC Waters seminar with PUB. I also thank the Singapore Institute of Architects and the Singapore Institute of Landscape Architects for your support.
15 We look forward to your continued support for the ABC Waters Programme, which will contribute to our goals under the Singapore Green Plan 2030.
16 Thank you.