In the webpage "Sustainability Effort" (n.d.) taken from Gardens by the Bay website reported about the key function of the Gardens as an ecosystem that is able to self-sustain in the built environment. The ecosystem work by itself without many maintenance issues to achieve environmental sustainability. This system is made up of Lake systems, Conservatories and Supertrees. The Lake systems acts as a biotope that accommodates the aquatic animals and plants which later help to cleanse the surface run-off as well as the lake itself. Subsequently, the cleansed water is discharged in Marina Reservoir and used for irrigation purposes. Besides the Lake systems, the webpage also mentioned about the Conservatories. The two biomes are equipped with advanced technology allowing it to simulate the climate temperature suitable to certain region to accommodate rare plants in Singapore. It is also mentioned on the webpage further about Supertrees. These Supertrees are equipped with solar planes that allow to harvest electricity in the day. Hence, it reduces the amount of electricity used at night. Singapore should restore efforts in sustainability on built environment as it can bring a good impact to the nature as well as the communities. Eventually, sustainable effort is an alternative solution for problems in developed countries.
In 2006, Public Utilities Board (PUB) had launched Active, Beautiful and Clean Water Programme (ABC Water Programme) to promote the importance of water quality in Singapore as well as to appreciate of water resources. It is important to sustain the good quality of water entering the canals that are channeling the water into the local catchment. Thus, this will reduce the cost to treat portable water. Therefore, the water agency in Singapore need to find ways to make the water quality better in the drain, canals and riverbanks before entering the reservoirs. Sustainability is the main idea of PUB as it require less maintenance thus it create a whole new ecosystem in a community. It is mention in PUB webpage (2016) that ABC water programme is to enhance the water and life quality by combining the drain, canal and reservoir with the surrounding environment. Hence, the garden is transformed into an ecosystem which enable it to self-sustain. This concept is widely used in European countries. It is mention in Susdrain (n.d.) webpage, a similar concept is being applied to UK drainage systems which transformed it into a sustainable drainage. This concept allows rain and surface water run-off to cleanse naturally by allowing water to soak in the ground thus filtering unwanted pollutants. Thus, it reduces the cost of water treatment as well as the construction a concrete canal as mention by Graham Fairhurst (February 2011).
Secondly, this initiative is not only cleansing the water runoff quality but also Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park (2014, Section 10) is a great example of PUB ABC water project which uses a similar concept to Gardens by the bay. It is mention on PUB’s webpage (2006), that the programme is to transform all the drains, canals and reservoirs in Singapore into beautiful and clean streams hence bring the community closer to the nature. This environmental sustainability effort can be made into smaller scales such as parks near HDB houses as well as condomium, hospital and schools. In this way sustainability efforts can spread widely across Singapore, improving the ecosystem as well as the aesthetic of the environment. It is stated in Water Programme guideline (2014, Section 10) that parks such Bishan-Ang Mo Kio park and public hospital like Khoo Teck Puat hospital have benefited from environmental sustainability concept.
Moreover, communities get to enjoy the recreational spaces and they are more conscious about the nature. In addition, these efforts would make Singapore a greener city. Because of this reason, Ministry of Environment and Water Resource had initiated the 1st edition of Active, Beautiful and Clean water guideline (ABC water guidelines) in 2009 which encourages developers in Singapore to adopt ABC Waters design features in their developments. Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park is a great example of PUB ABC water project which uses a similar concept to Gardens by the bay however in smaller scale. According to Ramboll, Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park was reconstructed from the conventional concrete drainage to bioengineered riverbank by incorporating the living plants to act as river walls. These plants are there to function as a filtration system as well as aesthetic of the drainage. Hence, the space is transformed into recreational area where visitor can be closer to water and nature.
Finally, I feel that sustainable effort can be a solution to couple of problems in developed countries such as Singapore. Maintenance issues can occur for conventional (concrete) canals or drainage as it requires occasional upgrading works like expanding drain capacity. This is because the amount rain rises yearly especially during monsoon season. The drainage and canals also requires cleaning to prevent any clogging and so on. Thus, this will reduce the quality of water flowing to the local catchment. Therefore, it is important to establish the sustainable concept to the built environment so that it can bring more benefit to the community thus reducing the cost.
ABC guidelines (June 2014, Section 10)
Channel News Asia (March, 2016) 20 more ABC Waters projects to be completed in next 5 years. Retrieve from http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/20-more-abc-waters/2619600.html
Graham Fairhurst (February 2011) Comparative costing for Surface Water Sewers and SuDS
Retrieve from: http://www.susdrain.org/resources/evidence.html
Ramboll Group (2015) Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park
Retrieve from: http://www.ramboll.com/projects/singapore/bishan-park
Sustainability Effort(n.d.) Gardens by the Bay
Retrieve from: http://www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/en/the-gardens/about-us/sustainability.html