Kallang River

Kallang River

The Kallang River (Chinese: 加冷河, Pinyin: Jiālěng Hé) flows for 10 kilometres from the Lower Peirce Reservoir to the coast at Nicoll Highway, making it the longest river in Singapore. The river mouth was traditionally at Kallang Basin, although extensive land reclamation around the area meant the river only flows into the open sea via the Marina Channel between Marina Centre and Marina East.

History

In pre-colonial times, the original inhabitants of Singapore, the aboriginal biduanda orang kallang, lived in the swamps at the mouth of the Kallang River, and fished from their boats, seldom venturing out into the open sea. At the time when Sir Stamford Raffles landed in Singapore in 1819, half of the population of 1,000 were orang kallang.

Kallang River is the place, too, where in the early days the Bugis traders from Sulawesi (the Celebes) unloaded their cargoes of spices and tortoise shells, gold dust and slaves from their palari or leteh-leteh. These sailing boats were a common sight off the sea front even up to the 1960s.

Today, this long, winding river has little or no industry except for a short distance, although a new industrial estate at Kallang Basin, near Kallang Bahru, has been built.

Future development

Kallang River will be transformed into part of the water catchment area for the new Marina Bay Reservoir. A new dam, the Marina Barrage, is being built at the mouth of the Marina Channel at Marina South. With the completion of the barrage in 2007, the entire region comprising the basins of the Singapore River, Rochor River, Geylang River and Kallang River will be transformed into a water catchment area.

In April 2006, the Singapore government announced plans to give a 200-metre stretch of the Kallang River at Kolam Ayer a S$2.5 million facelift.

The "demonstration project" by the National Parks Board (NParks) and the Public Utilities Board (PUB) is part of the Active, Beautiful and Clean Waters Programme to transform rivers and reservoirs into vibrant community hubs, and to get Singaporeans to cherish and take care of their waterways. NParks and the PUB reviewed some of the world's best rivers such as the Charles River in the United States and the Cheonggye Stream in Seoul to draw inspiration and learn best practices.

By August 2007, the Kolam Ayer stretch of the river will be transformed to include more greenery, floating decks, pathways and boardwalks for recreational activities. A water wheel will be introduced as the centrepiece of the project. The water level will be kept at a constant level — 3 metres deep — making activities such as kayaking and dragon boating possible.

Trivia

In June 2005, the body parts of murder victim Liu Hong Mei were found near the confluence between the river and its tributary, the Rochor River.

References

  • Norman Edwards, Peter Keys (1996), Singapore - A Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, Times Books International, ISBN 9971-65-231-5
  • Today, Making a splash with $2.5m, 17 April 2006

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