Singapore’s Kallang River Restores Urban Bishan Park


One of Singapore’s most popular parks has been transformed into a dynamic natural ecosystem with the restoration of 2.7 kilometers of the Kallang River that had previously been forced into a concrete drainage channel, creating new recreation opportunities while helping protect the city from flooding. The three-year, $60-million makeover of Bishan Park was officially completed last weekend, when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reopened the 62-hectare space to the public.  66 species of wildflowers, 59 species of birds, and 22 species of dragonflies have already been identified in Bishan Park, part of a 30 percent increase in biodiversity.

Other plants in the park, chosen for their natural cleansing properties, maintain water quality in the river and ponds without the use of chemicals. Soil bioengineering techniques that combine plant material with traditional engineering help retain soil on the river’s banks, which are designed to be able to overflow safely in times of heavy rainfall. The river can handle 40 percent more water than the old canal. Also, urban rivers also help reduce the heat island effect. Singapore has become a world leader in integrated urban water management, diversifying its water sources and using large scale urban rainwater harvesting for its drinking water supply.  Bishan Park is an inspiring example of how a city park can function as ecological infrastructure, a smart combination of water source, flood management, biodiversity and recreation.

via TreeHugger