Creating a self-sustainable water supply before 2060 is a key strategic initiative for the government of Singapore. Historically, Singapore has relied on legacy treaties signed with Malaysia in the 1960s to supply a large portion of the island’s water demand. The first treaty has recently expired in 2011 while the other treaty is due to expire in 2061.
Opened in November 2008, the Marina Barrage is one of the highlights in Singapore’s efforts to create a self-sustainable water supply for the nation. Singapore has identified 4 national taps: Water from Local Catchment; NEWater; Desalinated Water; and Imported Water.
NEWater, however, is one of the more controversial sources for water as it is effectively recycled sewage. Yet, although NEWater gets substantial publicity, water from local catchments will be the primary supply of water in the long-term.
Singapore is one of the few countries to harvest urban storm water for water supply. The flagship for local catchment supply is the Marina Barrage, which was opened in 2008 in Marina Bay area. With the completion of the Marina Barrage, in addition to Punggol and Serangoon Reservoirs (17 reservoirs island-wide in total), by the end of this year between half to two thirds of Singapore’s land area is used for water catchment. Various drains and canals are released into the different Reservoirs.
Singapore categorized Marina Barrage as One Barrage: 3 Benefits. In addition to water supply, Marina Barrage also provides flood control, as well as a lifestyle attraction.
Within Marina Barrage are 9 crest gates across the Marina Channel to separate seawater from freshwater. For flood control, Marina Barrage is designed to alleviate flooding in low-lying areas in Central Singapore. During heavy rains, up to one Olympic-sized pool of water can be released into the sea per minute.
The other benefit of Marina Barrage is as a lifestyle attraction. The sloping walkway to the upper level is a unique design, and the lawn on the upper story is a popular venue for picnics, dogs and kites.