A new design guideline, aimed at both public and private developers to bring out rain gardens and plant-covered condominiums, was released by PUB. The guideline, which is included in the Active Beautiful Clean Waters (ABC Waters) Programme, discusses several methods by which water features and drainage systems can filter the rainwater before it reaches the reservoirs and canals in the hope that this will lead to cleaner reservoirs someday.

One of the ways that this can be done is by utilising bioswales or rain gardens, wherein the top soil acts as the filtration system by cleaning and slowing down the water just before it reaches the public drains.

Herbert Dreiseitl, founder of Atelier Dreiseitl Asia, the city planning firm, and who has contributed to the draft of the guidelines, comments that the process copies the ways of nature.

Tai Lee Siang, DP Architects director, who is on the review panel of the programme, notes that with climate change being more recognized, more developers are now having interest in green buildings. GuocoLand Group is a private developer that is already implementing such ideas. Sophia Residence and Goodwood Residence projects, however, have the water recycling systems. The two projects also garnered the highest accolade for green buildings in Singapore, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) Green Mark Platinum Award. Green Mark is waiting for developers to implement the ABC guidelines.

Tan Nguan Sen, PUB Director of catchment and waterways, hopes the BCA will increase the allocated points for ABC features. The guide is the concluding portion of the ABC Waters Programme that was introduced in 2006 to convert 32 major rivers, 15 reservoirs, and 7,000 kilometres of waterways in Singapore into beautiful places for recreation.