In the web page "Sustainability Effort" (n.d.), Gardens by the Bay website reported about the essential function of the Gardens as an ecosystem that can self-sustain in the built environment. This ecosystem works by itself without many maintenance issues to achieve environmental sustainability. This ecosystem is made up of Lake systems, Conservatories and Supertrees. The Lake systems act 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 cleaned water is discharged in Marina Reservoir and used for irrigation. In the web page, it further mentioned about the Conservatories equipped with advanced technologies. These Conservatories can regulate the temperature suitable for a particular region to accommodate rare plants in it. The Supertrees also are reported on the web page that the trees are powered by solar panels that harvest electricity during the day. Hence with the solar panels installed, it reduces the amount of electricity used at night. With these examples of Gardens by Bay has given an idea of what sustainable effort can benefit to a built environment. Singapore should implement a similar sustainable project on a more local level as this implementation can bring a real impact to nature as well as the communities in Singapore.
To initiate the sustainable effort to a more local level, Public Utilities Board (PUB) is one of the first Singapore agencies to launched Active, Beautiful and Clean Water Programme (ABC Water Programme). This programme is to promote the importance of water quality in Singapore as well as to appreciate of water resources. It is essential to maintain the high quality of water entering the canals as these canals are channelling water into the local catchment area. Therefore, the water agencies in Singapore needs to find ways to make the water quality better in the drain, canals and riverbanks before entering the reservoirs or the catchments area. 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. With the implementation of sustainability initiatives as possible solutions to the water problems, PUB will reduce the maintenance cost to cleanse the water. Subsequently, this programme creates a whole new ecosystem in a community. Hence, an ecosystem is being transformed into a new system which enables it to be self-sustain. In European countries, such concepts are widely used. It is mentioned in Susdrain (n.d.) web page where a similar concept is being applied to UK drainage systems which transformed the drains into a sustainable drainage. This concept allows rain and surface water run-off to cleanse naturally by allowing water to soak into the ground thus filtering unwanted pollutants. Thus, it reduces the cost of water treatment as well as the cost to construct a concrete canal as mention by Graham Fairhurst (February 2011).
The second reason to implement sustainable efforts is so that this drainage can maintain the water runoff quality but also beautify the environment which is similar to Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park (2014, Section 10). This park an excellent example of PUB ABC water project which uses a similar concept to Gardens by the Bay. It is mentioned 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 nature. This environmental sustainability effort can be made into smaller scales such as parks near HDB houses as well as condominium, 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.
By implementing sustainability efforts, communities will get to enjoy the recreational spaces and be closer to natural. Also, 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 encouraged developers in Singapore to adopt ABC Waters design features in their developments. Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park is an excellent example of PUB ABC water project which uses a similar concept to Gardens by the bay however on a smaller scale. According to Ramboll, Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park was reconstructed from the standard concrete drainage to the 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 the aesthetic of the drainage. Hence, space is transformed into a recreational area where the visitor can be closer to water and nature.
Finally, a sustainable effort can be a solution to a 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. The reason for expansion is because the amount rain rises yearly especially during monsoon season. The drainage and canals also require 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). Retrieved from https://www.pub.gov.sg/abcwaters/Documents/ABC_DG_2014.pdf
Othman, L. (n.d.). 20 more ABC Waters projects to be completed in next 5 years. Retrieved from http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/20-more-abc-waters/2619600.html
Comparative costing for Surface Water Sewers and SuDS. (2011, February). Retrieved from http://www.susdrain.org/resources/evidence.html
Ramboll Group (2015) Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park Retrieved from: http://www.ramboll.com/projects/singapore/bishan-park
Sustainability Effort(n.d.) Gardens by the Bay. Retrieved from: http://www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/en/the-gardens/about-us/sustainability.html