More than just a dam
Published/Last edited or updated: 21st September, 2017
As they walk around Marina Bay, few people probably realise they’re actually walking around the largest fresh water catchment in Singapore. Marina Bay is one of 15 fresh water catchments spread across the city state and encompasses more than 10,000 hectares — or roughly one-sixth the size of Singapore.
While Marina Bay is first and foremost a water catchment, it actually has two additional and important roles. The more important of these is flood protection. Marina Bay was created with the construction of Marina Barrage — a dam at its eastern extreme — and when the city sees its all too frequent heavy rainfall, many of the waters drain into Marina Bay and the crest gates at Marina Barrage can be lowered to allow the excess fresh water run off into the ocean. This has successfully helped to alleviate flooding in some of the lower lying parts of Singapore such as Chinatown, which sits to the south of the Quays area of Singapore.
As well, the creation of Marina Barrage (and Marina Bay) formed a whole new recreation area for both Singaporeans and foreign visitors. The bay itself is popular for water activities such as sailing, kayaking and dragon-boat racing and, come the evening, it creates a splendid reflection to the skyscrapers in this part of the city. Also, on the southern side of the Barrage, a spiral-shaped lawn garden area was built and turned into a public recreation space.
Popular for everything from picnic lunches to kite flying, this is a great area to visit if you’ve got young kids who just want to run and run and run. Time your visit for the late afternoon, when you’ll be able to enjoy excellent sunset views over the city. Older children (and their parents!) will probably find the Sustainable Singapore Gallery of interest. It details how Singapore is striving towards environmental sustainability. Admission is free and the gallery is open Wednesday to Monday from 09:00 till 21:00. The exterior lawn area is open daily. Eating options exist on site, but we’d go with a picnic upstairs on the grass if time allows.
The closest MRT is Marina Bay, from where there is a bus service to Marina Barrage or you can walk here from Gardens By The Bay.
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
Our top 10 other sights and activities in and around Downtown Singapore