Singapore receives 100 inches of rain each year, making flood control and water supply preservation a big issue. The solution: an elegant, low-level dam, known as the Marina Barrage. The Marina Barrage is the nation’s 15th reservoir, but it is the first in the heart of the city. Conceived by Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew nearly two decades ago, the Marina Barrage creates a freshwater reservoir that increases the available supply of water and decreases dependence from imported sources. Together with two other new reservoirs, it has increased Singapore’s water catchment from half to two-thirds of the country’s land area.
With a catchment area of 10,000 hectares, the Marina Barrage is one-sixth the size of Singapore. The catchment is the island nation’s largest and most urbanized. The benefits of the Marina Barrage are threefold:
The barrage is part of a comprehensive system of flood control to decrease flooding in the low-lying areas in the busy quarters of the city. During the heavy rains, a series of nine crest gates activate to release excess storm water into the sea when the tide is low. When high tide comes in, giant pumps drain excess storm water at at a rate of one Olympic-size swimming pool per minute.
The Barrage is a dam built across the Marina Channel to keep out seawater. It spans across 350-meters to form the first reservoir in the city. Desalting began in April 2009 through natural replacement by rainwater. On November 20, 2010, the Marina Reservoir was commissioned. The reservoir can meet approximately 10% of Singapore’s current water demand.
With the constant year-round control of water levels unaffected by the tides, the effect is ideal for all kinds of recreational activities, improving Singapore’s list of attractions, such as boating, windsurfing, kayaking, etc. The Marina Barrage has also become an attraction itself, drawing visitors from around the world to visit the sustainability exhibits and use its green roof for popular activities, such as kite flying, picnicking and views of the bay and downtown.