Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on Measures to Safeguard Biodiversity and Natural Hydrology in Choa Chu Kang Waterworks Area by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment
Mr Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment following the consultation on the environmental impact of reconstructing Choa Chu Kang Waterworks (a) what are the steps and measures that will be taken to safeguard the biodiversity and natural hydrology in the area; and (b) whether the construction of the project will be adjusted to fully take into account the implementation of such steps and measures.
1 Choa Chu Kang Waterworks is Singapore's second largest waterworks and the only one located in western Singapore. The plant was constructed in phases between 1975 and 1981 and its aged infrastructure requires renewal and upgrading works to ensure that it can continue to supply good and safe drinking water to meet Singapore's water needs.
2 Choa Chu Kang Waterworks will have to remain in operation during the upgrading works to continue supplying water to the western areas of Singapore. For this reason, there is insufficient space within the plant to construct new treatment infrastructure. Therefore, about 3.2 hectares of additional land adjacent to the existing plant will be used.
3 PUB is mindful of minimising any potential impact on the environment. PUB worked closely with NParks to scope a comprehensive environmental impact assessment, also known as EIA, of Choa Chu Kang Waterwork's proposed reconstruction. This was completed in end-2021. PUB subsequently sought feedback from nature groups on the EIA findings, which have since been incorporated in the EIA report. Taking in the findings, PUB has proposed a suite of mitigation measures to safeguard the biodiversity and natural hydrology in the surrounding areas. These measures will be adopted during the reconstruction works.
4 Allow me to outline some of these measures:
- PUB has adjusted the original project footprint to preserve a part of a freshwater stream which is home to aquatic species of conservation significance. PUB will also put in place a 10-metre-wide strip of vegetation to serve as a buffer and implement an enhanced Earth Control Measures plan to protect this stream;
- Flora species of conservation significance will be salvaged and placed in a designated nursery for transplanting to other suitable habitats. The salvaged species could subsequently be utilised in the replanting of the site if feasible; and
- Prior to land clearing, wildlife shepherding and the targeted relocation of animals will be conducted before the worksite is progressively hoarded up.
5 While the measures will add time and cost to the project, PUB is fully committed to implementing them to mitigate the project's impact on the environment.