SINGAPORE - An 800m stretch of the Bukit Timah First Diversion Canal between Holland Green and Holland Plain now boasts three rain gardens following the completion of a $3.9 million enhancement.
The gardens, which were officially opened on Saturday (Sept 22), are designed to cleanse rainwater runoff in the area and improve the quality of water flowing into the canal.
There are also new shelters, benches, fitness equipment, a wetland, as well as paths for jogging and cycling. Rock walls and creeper plants now line the canal banks to soften their concrete appearance.
The Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) project by PUB, the national water agency, has been about two years in the making.
The project, the 37th in Singapore and the first for Bukit Timah, was done in conjunction with PUB's drainage upgrading works for the 3.2km Bukit Timah First Diversion Canal which started in 2013.
When the drainage project is completed by the end of the year, flood protection for the upper Bukit Timah Catchment, which includes areas such as Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Beauty World Plaza and Bukit Timah Shopping Centre, will be improved.
Improvement work on the canal, which flows into Pandan Reservoir, is being carried out in three phases.
Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Foreign Minister and MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, noted at the opening ceremony that the improvement works will "prevent floods", which have occurred in the past.
In November 2009, a heavy downpour caused a diversion canal from the main Bukit Timah canal, built in the 1960s and 1970s, to burst its banks. Flood waters rose knee-high, partially submerging ground-floor buildings and cars.
Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Christopher de Souza said at the ceremony: "The upgrading of the canal between Bukit Timah Road and Clementi Road enhances flood protection and that is needed to protect residents.
"The project also serves to create vibrant community spaces for the community to bond near the water. This is in line with the vision of a green Holland-Bukit Timah GRC.
"Today's opening is very special. It reflects our collective vision to overcome water scarcity; to turn adversity into strength, to reimagine green community spaces and with teamwork, to turn that into a reality now."
Resident Eunice Ng, 49, a housewife, said her condominium carpark was flooded in July 2010, damaging her car.
She said she looks forward to better drainage, adding that the ABC Waters project is a "very pretty" addition to the area: "It's a nice view now. It used to be underutilised."
"Now you can walk through and enjoy the scenic view. It's more inviting and suitable for morning and evening walks."