“Flooding” in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park? It’s called a Bioswale.

The heavy torrential rain last week (Jan 1) resulted in a floodplain in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.

The “flooding”, however, is actually a stormwater management system called a bioswale.

What are Bioswales?

Bioswales are landscaping features that collect polluted stormwater runoff. It’s design to capture and filter out pollutants from the runoff coming from larger areas of impervious surfaces like roads and parking lots that would otherwise end up in stormwater systems and bodies of water.

The US’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines bioswales as “vegetated, mulched or xeriscaped channels that provide treatment and retention as they move stormwater from one place to another.”

The benefits of a bioswale on water quality include:

  • Protects local waterways from stormwater pollutants
  • Creates habitat for wildlife, including birds and butterflies
  • Reduces standing water (puddles) that can attract mosquitoes
  • Creates colorful gardens with a variety of flowers and plants year round
  • Requires little maintenance after establishment

Aesthetically-pleasing drainage system

The 3.2km meandering naturalised river at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park used to be a 2.7km long straight concrete Kallang channel in the past, which would not otherwise have been able to contain as much rainwater as it now does.

This was what it looked like previously:

Here’s what it looks like now:

This redevelopment of Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park was part of the Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) Programme, a joint collaboration between PUB and NParks, which fulfilled two purposes, namely:

  • to create more recreational spaces for us, as well as more importantly,
  • to increase the capacity of the Kallang channel along the edge of the park.

The new park was designed by a German landscape architectural firm Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl (previously known as Atelier Dreiseitl) in 2007, and was built between 2009 and 2012.

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