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MacRitchie Reservoir
Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

MacRitchie Reservoir


MacRitchie Reservoir is the oldest of the 17 reservoirs in Singapore. Though construction started in 1867, it was not until 1907 that the reservoir reached its present-day capacity. Between April 1891 and September 1894, James MacRitchie, the Municipal Engineer, supervised enlargement works of the reservoir. Increasing demand for water and periodic droughts then prompted further work to channel water from two tributaries of the upper Kallang River drainage to the reservoir. In 1907, the Impounding Reservoir was renamed Thomson Road Reservoir. Its final name change to MacRitchie Reservoir in 1922 is in recognition of James MacRitchie’s contribution.

Together with three other reservoirs (Upper Peirce, Lower Peirce, and Upper Seletar), MacRitchie Reservoir is part of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR). Over 150-ha of primary forest that still occurs in CCNR is largely found around MacRitchie. Characteristic plants of MacRitchie’s surrounding forests include Keruing (Dipterocarpus spp.), Ten Man Trees (Ixonanthes reticulata), and Jelutong (Dyera costulata). Striped Tit Babblers (Macronus gularis), Sun Skinks (Mabuya multifasciata), and Long-tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis) are common fauna of the forest.

Offering both land- and water-based recreation, MacRitchie Reservoir is a popular destination for walkers, joggers, as well as kayakers. Boardwalks offer scenic views of the reservoir. The forest may be accessed via several walking trails, ranging from 3–11 km. A paddle across the reservoir is also possible, with kayaks available for rent. Recent upgrading works to the nature area, which included the addition of a green two-storey carpark and an amenities centre, was completed in two phases. MacRitchie Reservoir is open from 7 am to 7 pm daily.

Getting there

MacRitchie Reservoir is served by multiple bus services (52, 74, 93, 130, 132, 156, 157, 162, 162M, 165, 166, 167, 852, 855, 980) that stop right at its doorstep. The closest train station to the reservoir is Marymount, approximately 1 km away. Visitors can either walk (roughly 10 minutes) or take a bus (services 52, 74, 165, 852, 855) to get to the reservoir from Marymount MRT Station. A two-storey carpark is located at the entrance of the Park.

Other Resources

National Parks Board. MacRitchie Reservoir Park. http://www.nparks.gov.sg/cms/index.php?option=com_visitorsguide&task=naturereserves&id=49&Itemid=75. (Accessed August 2011).

Tan, R. MacRitchie Forest Trails. http://www.wildsingapore.com/places/macr.htm. (Accessed August 2011).


Ng, P. K. L., H. T. W. Tan & K. K. P. Lim, 2011. The History of Singapore's Reservoirs. Pp. 59–61. 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, Singapore. 323 pp.

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