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November 26, 2008

Marina Reservoir at Marina Barrage: Singapore's Newest City Reservoir

Picture of Marina Barrage by the Marina Reservoir.

Marina Reservoir at Marina Barrage: Singapore's Newest City Reservoir

With the formation of Marina Barrage, Marina Bay has been turned into Marina Reservoir, Singapore's newest and youngest reservoir. The newly built Marina Barrage of Marina Reservoir has thus turned into the latest must-see attraction for Seen This Scene That.

To acquaint myself with this newest reservoir in the city, I brought my family of five for a visit to the hippest attraction in town at the Marina Barrage recently.

Located at 260, Marina Way in Marina South, the Marina Barrage is built on a far-flung patch of reclaimed land. To drive to Marina Barrage is not exactly a walk in the park, what with road diversions, land construction and high heavy-vehicle buzz along the roads. Fortunately, the property’s physical isolation meant fewer visitors to compete for free lots at the only car park on its premises. For those who do not drive, I believe there are shuttle buses at the car park waiting half-hourly to bring visitors from Marina Bay MRT Station.

Compared to older reservoirs like MacRitchie Reservoir or Upper Seletar Reservoir, I found this new Singapore dam and its reservoir different in many ways.

At ground level upon my arrival at the Marina Barrage, the obvious difference is the presence of massive concrete. There is little feel of a green vibrant park, although pockets of shrubbery exist. I would soon find out on exploring the area that the Marina Barrage takes after the form of our city, purpose-built to perfection.

One standout theme is the dedication and detail put into building the Marina Barrage in order to create the Marina Reservoir. To construct the Marina Barrage, plenty of engineering oomph was required because of the width and depth of the Marina Bay outlet. The Marina Barrage, with the Marina Bridge across it, is a highly sophisticated dam constructed across Marina Channel near the mouth of the Marina Bay. Complicated parts that work magic on this high-tech dam remain hidden in the bowels of an adjacent building.

According to PUB, the purpose-built Marina Barrage has three functions: for water supply, for flood control and as a lifestyle attraction.

The reservoir water in the Marina Basin is expected to turn into fresh water after a year or two. When that happens, more drinking water will be released for public use.

Marina Barrage prevents flooding as far upriver as Chinatown, Boat Quay and Geylang by regulating the water level in the Marina Reservoir with state-of-the-art technologies.

The recreational function of the Marina Barrage is of interest to me. In fact, it is the main reason I am at the 15th reservoir of Singapore. Most of the fun activities at the Marina Barrage occur outside the waters of the Marina Reservoir, unless you count the bumboat rides on the Marina Basin that are available for sight-seers keen to explore more of Marina Reservoir.

I think the obligatory recreational activity for all visitors to the Marina Barrage must be to walk along the 350-metre long dam (Marina Bridge) and then do a U-turn for the return stroll. I suggest you check out the east abutment where the boat hoist and access ramp are, especially when there are boats transported into or out of the Marina Basin.

The dam possesses nine tent-like shelters or piers that face the city skyline. Seats are available for romantic couples or families out for a picnic to gather under these pavilions to enjoy sunset views of our Central Business District. Just choose one and snap all the photos that your family album requires.

Picture of CBD night scene across the Marina Reservoir from the Marina Bridge.

The scenery around the 350-metre-long Marina Barrage has distinctive facades. On one side of the Marina Barrage, the view consists of built-up scenery of Singapore's commercial space like no other local reservoir. On the opposite side of the Marina Barrage, the open sea, dotted by ocean-going vessels, is laid bare. To top it off, 360-degree views of Marina South and beyond are afforded at the rooftop of the new Marina Barrage building.

Picture: Green rooftop of Marina Barrage.

Inside this Marina Barrage building, I found unique features not seen at other reservoirs in Singapore.

For instance, the Sustainable Singapore Gallery is a museum-like exhibition space with interactive multi-media tools that educate and engage visitors. The sloping green rooftop, with its 405 solar panels and weird geometric shape, is an excellent place at the Marina Barrage to breathe fresh air and enjoy city scenes. Large glass walls reveal the innards of the water pump station that should intrigue visitors who like to learn about the technical workings of the Marina Barrage. Food and beverage shop spaces were available but at the time of my visit, not all F&B establishments were ready for business.

While other reservoirs in Singapore have the standard-looking neighbourhood children’s playground, the Marina Barrage offers the newest children’s playground of a different kind. Jets of water spout from hidden holes on the floor of the Water Playground to delight happy children. Illuminated by colourful lighting, these water fountain displays provide entertainment for adults as well who visit the Marina Barrage in the evenings.

Although older reservoirs in Singapore have designated fishing spots, Marina Reservoir has none. Fishing enthusiasts will have to wait until Public Utilities Board (PUB) designates the proper sites for fishing (if any) at the Marina Reservoir. In the meantime, there is plenty of space for sea-water fishing along the banks of Marina South, just next to the car park at the Marina Barrage.

I hope that in the future, there will be guided nature walks around the Barrage for visitors curious to know if there are fauna and flora in a city reservoir. For now, the only guided tours are those conducted inside the Sustainable Singapore Gallery.

What I saw of the immediate surroundings beyond the Marina Barrage did not impress. Perhaps when the world-class Gardens By The Bay project is completed, the aesthetic factor of the its neighbours would rise above the concrete peaks achieved at Marina Barrage that created Singapore’s newest city reservoir.

More details at PUB's Marina Reservoir / Marina Barrage site.

My posts, map, photograph on Marina Barrage, Marina Reservoir.

See more places. Live more life.

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Ben said...

Nice write up there, I'm planning to head down to fish tomorrow, by the seashore.

Admin said...

Hi Ben, thanks for visiting and leaving your thoughts here. Good luck to your fishing.

berlin said...

hey thanks for posting... i am visit Singapore in march 2010 ..

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