Photo Essay

Picture glistening rivers and the public leisurely kayaking and fishing in waterways and lakes – the beautiful, breathtaking kind you see on postcards.

Singapore is on its way to become just that. The still-underway ABC (Active, Beautiful & Clean) Waters program by the Public Utilities Board (PUB) falls in line with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s vision of Singapore as a City of Gardens and Water, and aims to maximize the potential of 8,000 km of waterways and 17 reservoirs for more than just a source of water.


Among others, Marina Barrage / Reservoir, Lower Seletar Reservoir and Sengkang Floating Wetland are prime examples of how the ABC Waters program has drastically beautified the face of waterways in Singapore. With the construction of wooden walkways and planted gardens surrounding the clean water bodies, these concrete canals have been transformed into massively popular hubs for leisure activities over the years.


One of the newer additions to this roster is Punggol Waterway Park, which is meant to brand Punggol as a center for water activities. In the coming years, more waterway parks like Punggol’s will be constructed, with the purpose of creating more opportunities for people to partake in water activities in Singapore’s water bodies.


1 such water activities is the popular sport dragon boating. “Dragon boating as a team sport has its pros and cons. Training and racing is so much easier when there are people doing it with you in the same boat,” said Felicia Lee, 20, a national dragon boater.


Another water activity easily available to the public is kayaking. “Kayaking is my favorite sport. I don’t even like to exercise but I do like water. I come here once every few weeks with friends to enjoy the scenery, look at the wildlife, take a rest, and just have fun. I can’t do all that on land!” said Piyarat “Prang” Weerachanchai, 33, who was kayaking with her colleague, 28 year old Xue Dong.


If you’re into something more intense, wakeboarding’s worth a try. “Wakeboarding has become a niche sport, and it’s also a lot tougher than other water sports. My generation (Gen X) back then were more gung-ho. It’s quite funny, but a lot of wakeboarders now are either foreigners or nerds,” said Melanie Tan, 37, a lifestyle consultant.


But if you’re looking to relax instead of working out to buckets of sweat, fishing’s a cool option too. “Fishing is all about disengaging from our busy work life, dropping a line into the water, and enjoying the great outdoors. A bite is a bonus. I say a bad day of fishing beats a good day at work! It’s different from land sports because it isn’t as strenuous, and is suitable for all ages,” said Dexter Sim, 38, an education officer.


At the end of a day, one of the best things to do would be to simply relax by the water and watch the sunset at a reservoir or waterway, which is much calmer than the ocean. You might even think it’s a tad more romantic.

We are surrounded by water bodies and with the government agencies stepping in to promote and spruce them up over the next few years, our waterways and reservoirs are only beginning to get busy. Don’t be surprised to find your neighbor rowing a kayak at a reservoir near you.