Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Singapore River

Description

The Singapore River is the most well-known river in Singapore and an important aspect of its history. The river spans about 3.2 km from the sea to Kim Seng Road. The mouth of the river has been dammed and it now flows into the Marina Reservoir (see Marina Barrage).

The river has been canalised and its banks have been heavily developed. Canalisation involves the straightening, deepening, widening and cementing of the banks and substrates. The water flowing through is often warm, shallow and subjected to sudden increase in volume, depth and flow during heavy rainfall. Both sides of the river have also been developed to include many buildings, as well as dining and entertainment venues.  

The river has been extensively used for commercial purpose over a hundred years and had lost all the original riverine habitats and associated communities by the time an attempt was made in the 1990s to rehabilitate the river. Most of Singapore’s original larger freshwater animals that were associated with this river, such as large prawns and fishes, have been lost. Following the clean-up of the river, an increase in aquatic diversity was observed, from 18 families recorded in 1986 to 47 families in 1992. This was when the river was still open to tidal influence but since being dammed, the river has become a freshwater body and it is still uncertain as to how the biodiversity might have changed.


Getting there

The Singapore River is most accessible by MRT with various stations along the span of the river. It is a short walk from Raffles Place and City Hall stations on the East West and North South lines; Promenade, Bayfront and Esplanade stations on the Circle line; and Clarke Quay station on the North East line.

Other Resources

National Library Board Singapore. 2005. Singapore River: historical overview. http://infopedia.nl.sg/articles/SIP_148_2005-02-02.html. (Accessed October 2012).

References

Chou, L. M., 1998. The cleaning of Singapore River and the Kallang Basin: approaches, methods, investments and benefits. Ocean & Coastal Management, 28(2): 133-145.

Chou, L.M., 2011. Coastal Ecosystems. Pp. 64-72. In: Ng, P. K. L., R. T. Corlett & H. T. W. Tan (editors), Singapore Biodiversity. An Encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development, Editions Didier Millet, Singapore, 552 pp.

Tan, H.T.W., L.M. Chou, D.C.J. Yeo & P.K.L. Ng, 2010. The Natural Heritage of Singapore (Third Edition). Pearson Education South Asia Pte Ltd. 323 pp.

Yeo, D.C.J., P. K. L. Ng, R.T. Corlett & H. T. W. Tan, 2011. Threats to Singapore Biodiversity. Pp. 96-105. In: Ng, P. K. L., R. T. Corlett & H. T. W. Tan (editors), Singapore Biodiversity. An Encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development, Editions Didier Millet, Singapore, 552 pp.

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