Opening Address by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, at the “Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters” Virtual Seminar on 1 July 2021
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to welcome you to the “Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters” seminar, or ABC Waters Seminar.
COVID-19 and adapting to challenges
2 For the first time since its inaugural run in 2011, the ABC Waters Seminar is being held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. I am heartened that many of you, especially our overseas participants, have taken the time to join us today.
Climate Change and Sustainability
3 In February this year, the Singapore Government unveiled the Singapore Green Plan 2030, kick-starting a “whole-of-nation movement” to advance our national agenda on sustainable development.
4 The ABC Waters Programme is a prime 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 harnesses the potential of our waterways and waterbodies and integrates them with the surrounding landscape to create multi-functional blue-green spaces for all to enjoy. These transformed spaces at the waterways and waterbodies goes beyond just managing stormwater, to create a greener and more liveable environment by extending nature throughout our island.
5 With the opening of the latest ABC Waters project at Jurong Lake later this month, PUB would have completed a total of 48 ABC Waters projects since 2006 with a further 8 projects completing in the next 5 years. The completed projects include Kallang River - Bishan Ang Mo Kio Park, Rochor Canal and Bukit Timah First Diversion Canal.
Sustainable Stormwater Management
6 The ABC Waters concept is also about using the natural system of plants and soil that slows down, detains and cleanses stormwater runoff. Known locally as ABC Waters design features, these systems enhance surrounding green spaces and play a part in sustainable stormwater management. This is all the more important to mitigate potential flooding with more frequent and intense rainfall as a result of climate change.
7 ABC Waters design features are greener and more sustainable alternatives to mitigate peak stormwater runoff. Rain gardens, a common ABC Waters design feature, provide storage volume to reduce peak stormwater runoff while improving runoff water quality. This is similar to other sustainable urban stormwater management concepts practised internationally, such as the Water Sensitive Urban Design concept in Australia, the Low Impact Development concept in the USA, and the Sustainable Drainage System concept in the UK.
Partnering Public Agencies and Private Developers
8 The ABC Waters Certification Scheme was introduced in 2010 to recognise public agencies and private developers in implementing ABC Waters design features in their developments. I am encouraged to see more and more public agencies and private developers incorporating ABC Waters design features in their projects. At this seminar, we celebrate the addition of 15 new ABC Waters certified projects to our growing list, bringing it to a total of over 80 projects. These projects demonstrate that with early planning and innovation, ABC Waters design features can be well integrated with the developments to enhance stormwater runoff management as well as improve the overall landscape.
9 To ensure the continued success of the ABC Waters Programme and achieve our vision for a greener, more sustainable 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. Our ABC Certification awardees are good examples of agencies and private developers that have placed sustainability at the heart of their designs.
Embracing Blue-Green Solutions
10 This year, we have seen a diverse group of projects, ranging from residential buildings to schools and parks, attaining the ABC Waters Certification since its introduction in 2010.
11 The three ABC Waters (Gold) certified projects – Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant, Nanyang Technological University’s Yunnan Garden and Jurong Lake Gardens West – went beyond the usual criteria for the ABC Waters certification by incorporating extensive ABC Waters design features to treat runoff from at least 40 per cent of their respective site areas.
12 The Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant boasts three rooftop bioretention basins as part of its sustainable stormwater management system, making it the first water treatment plant in Singapore to have adopted ABC Waters design at such an extensive scale. The rainwater harvested at the plant is reused as water supply to a lovely water feature that provides a scenic backdrop to many cyclists and joggers who visit the area.
13 Nanyang Technological University, another Gold awardee, also demonstrated their commitment to sustainability when they rejuvenated the heritage Yunnan Garden by incorporating ABC Waters design features to treat more than 70 per cent of the catchment runoff. The rejuvenated Yunnan Garden has now become a popular spot for joggers, and I have seen several vloggers filming their Singapoliday videos there too!
14 NParks’ Jurong Lake Garden West, the third Gold awardee for 2021, displayed innovation in its design by showcasing the use of cleansed water in a water play area for park users. The Jurong Lake Garden West project is the culmination of active, beautiful and innovative communal spaces complementing the existing blue backdrop of the Jurong Lake.
15 My heartiest congratulations to all developers on their ABC Waters Certification. I am pleased to see the industry’s enthusiasm and drive to continually strive for greater heights. I hope that more public agencies and private developers will adopt ABC Waters design features, in particular, to treat higher percentages of runoff from their developments and to achieve Gold Certification.
16 In closing, I would like to thank the Institute of Engineers Singapore, for co-organising the ABC Waters seminar with PUB. I would also like to thank the Singapore Institute of Architects and the Singapore Institute of Landscape Architects for their support.
17 I am certain that the seminar today will be an enriching one despite us being unable to meet in person. I am confident that we will still find opportunities to learn from one another despite the physical constraints.
18 We look forward to your continued support for the ABC Waters Programme, which will contribute to our goals under the Singapore Green Plan 2030. The vision of a sustainable and liveable urban city, for generations to come, can only be achieved with all your support.
19 Thank you.