Sunday, 29 April 2012

Punggol Waterway bags top global award

Singapore project is first in Asia to win environmental prize rarely given outside US 
By Chong Ning Qian, The Straits Times, 28 Apr 2012

My Waterway@Punggol, known to some as the 'Venice of Singapore', was awarded the Grand Prize for Excellence in Environmental Engineering in the environmental sustainability category.

The award was presented by the prestigious American Academy of Environmental Engineers (AAEE), held in Washington DC on April 26, 2012.

This is the waterway's first international award within five months of its launch.

My Waterway@Punggol is Singapore's longest man-made waterway, located at the North Eastern edge of Singapore.

The waterway took 2.5 years to complete, costing approximately S$225 million and was inaugurated by Singapore's Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong on Oct 23, 2011.

It meanders through Punggol Town, creating a delightful waterfront living environment. It also features a landscaped promenade, five footbridges, viewing decks, cycling and jogging paths, exercise and water-play areas, lush greenery and eco-friendly features.

Singapore is the only Asian country so far to have won the award in the environmental sustainability category.

The AAEE is the expert authority in the United States on environmental engineering, and the judging panel is made up of distinguished experts.

The waterway's design which incorporated three key design elements - Green, Water and People - contributed to the win.

Under the 'Green' element, HDB engineers contributed to sustainable construction practices by ensuring the maximisation of the waterway's.

For example, a 'cut-and-fill' method of excavation was used to fill the low lying areas around the waterway. This meant that earth excavated from the waterway was reused to prepare surrounding low lying areas for future developments. The excavated earth then, a waste product was recycled instead.

Other green solutions include planting wetland plants and freshwater-tolerant mangroves, along the waterway to help stabilise the surrounding slopes, enhance the water quality and promote biodiversity.

To maintain good water quality, eco-drains were constructed to ensure surface runoff is cleansed before entering the waterway. Aerators, jet fountains and water curtains were also incorporated to enhance water quality.

Social communal spaces were also created and integrated along the waterway for the enjoyment of Singaporeans, confronting the challenge of providing a vibrant and sustainable town.

HDB took efforts to preserve the memories and heritage from old Singapore by artistically injecting pieces of history when designing the waterway.

The Kelong bridge for example, captures the stilt houses of the past, at the present waterway.

Kelongs are a form of offshore platform built predominantly with wood, and can be found in waters. The fishermen of the past, built kelongs for fishing purposes.

HDB's Deputy chief executive officer (Building) Mr Sng Cheng Keh said 'HDB is honoured to have won this prestigious international award.

'Right from the start, we wanted to build a green, sustainable waterway, and using green construction methods too.

'We are glad to have achieved both objectives. Winning this award is testament to Singapore's small contribution towards being responsible global citizens by constructing an environmentally-friendly waterway.'

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