Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Blueprint: S’pore River renaissance

At the opening of the Upper Pierce Reservoir in February 1977, then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew announced an ambitious scheme to clean up both the Singapore and Kallang Rivers. “It should be a way of life to keep the water clean, to keep every stream, every rivulet, free from unnecessary pollution,” he said. “In 10 years, let us have fishing in the Singapore River and Kallang River. It can be done.”

Follow us on Instagram and Tiktok, and join our Telegram channel for the latest updates.

At the opening of the Upper Pierce Reservoir in February 1977, then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew announced an ambitious scheme to clean up both the Singapore and Kallang Rivers. “It should be a way of life to keep the water clean, to keep every stream, every rivulet, free from unnecessary pollution,” he said. “In 10 years, let us have fishing in the Singapore River and Kallang River. It can be done.”

The clean-up involved several government agencies, working to change the way land was used and overhauling the sewerage and drainage systems. Squatters were resettled into newly-built high-rise public housing near the city, such as in Tiong Bahru, Queenstown, Toa Payoh and MacPherson. Street hawkers operating near the river catchment areas were moved to hawker centres.

The 10-year project cost US$240 million (S$325 million) but helped to raise the value of land along the riverbanks and led to a growth in business and tourism. For instance, the Singapore River was positioned as a commercial and activity corridor where old buildings of interest were retained. The river is now part of the Marina Reservoir, and land reclamation works near the mouth of the river in the 1990s led to the creation of Marina Bay.

Boat Quay and Clarke Quay have become popular entertainment spots while restaurants, pubs and night spots also line the river today. SIAU MING EN

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.