Despite being an island surrounded by water, it seems there are few places where residents of Singapore can actually interact with water. Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park is one of them. This paper examines how the river was naturalized and the park was transformed as part of Singapore’s Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters Programme (ABC Waters). The naturalized channel carries the Kallang River, which runs from the Lower Pierce Reservoir to the Marina Reservoir (previously the ocean) and now serves multiple purposes: flood control, water purification, aesthetic enjoyment, and recreational and educational opportunities. The redesign of the park contains the use of natural processes for flood and soil erosion control, with a new floodplain design and soil bioengineering. Natural processes and materials are also used for water treatment and filtration with the creation of a cleansing biotope, an artificial wetland that treats and purifies the water of the river through the use of selected plants, and a network of vegetated bioswales.
While this project is successful in Singapore, and parts of it are in fact already being replicated throughout the country, it is important to note that Singapore has an unusual political environment. This is not to say that this project cannot be replicated elsewhere—the techniques and elements certainly could be—but, it may be more difficult in a place where the government has not made it a national priority to be a “City of Gardens and Water.”