Changi, 22 March 2008
It's been a while since I've last blogged about letters to the press proposing poorly planned ideas that will profoundly impact our marine environment and waterways. I don't have an issue with stupid ideas, really; everyone comes up with crazy ideas once in a while, but these are meant to be worked on and improved until you are able to conceptualise and visualise something that is indeed feasible and realistic. It's when people come up with stupid ideas and then fail to take into account all the other costs and stakeholders before writing to the press that I get really riled up.
And there's something oddly familiar about this particular letter...
Create reservoir between Pulau Ubin and Singapore (mirror)
COME 2012, we will have to be more self-reliant for our water supply.
I propose Pulau Ubin be linked to mainland Singapore to create a huge reservoir.
On the eastern end of Pulau Ubin, a two-tier road can be built so the lower deck allows cyclists to cycle between Singapore and Pulau Ubin. The upper deck will be another route for vehicles to go to and from Malaysia. Jetties can jut out from both sides of the link - the reservoir side for smaller boats such as kayaks, sailing and racing boats, and water scooters, while bigger boats can dock on the other side. Bicycle rental kiosks, souvenir shops and so on can be built at the starting point of the link at the Singapore end. Further reclamation at the Singapore end will allow immigration offices and multistorey carparks to be built.
On the link at the western end of Pulau Ubin, bicycle rental kiosks, food centres and souvenir shops with solar-panelled roofs can be built for cyclists to cycle between Singapore and Pulau Ubin.
Pavilions can also be extended from both links into the reservoir for relaxation, photography and fishing.
Pulau Ubin can be promoted extensively as a venue for camping, mountain biking, adventure, trekking, hiking, jogging, horse riding and prawn fishing (to meet strong demand for youngsters to rough it out and enjoy nature).
The proposed reservoir will mean less land use elsewhere - some of the existing reservoirs can be redefined as collection centres for rainwater and Newater, and their water channelled into Pulau Ubin reservoir. The surrounding land can then be freed for other use, such as residential development to house a growing population.
Feedstock for Pulau Ubin reservoir can also be had from excess water from the smaller reservoirs, from rainwater and Newater to be collected from the northern and eastern parts of Singapore and from more Newater that could be generated.
Big water pipes connected to both links at Pulau Ubin would help to drain seawater between Pulau Ubin and the Causeway and provide a change of seawater according to the tides. Energy-generating turbines can be incorporated into these seawater pipes.
Coney Island can be reclaimed further to become part of the mainland and pavilions can be extended from Coney Island into the reservoir.
The damming of the water between Pulau Ubin and Singapore to become a huge reservoir promises many possibilities for development, for meeting future water needs and for recreation.
I urge the authorities to look into these great benefits on our doorstep.
Chew Wai Soon
A near-identical idea was previously proposed, and rebutted, all just 4 months ago. The Public Utilities Board has already gone on record stating that "the waterway between Pulau Ubin, Pulau Tekong and the mainland is a major shipping lane and there are currently no plans to convert it into a reservoir".
Do people really forget so easily?
Currently, I'm a bit too occupied to be able to immediately work on drafting a response. Hopefully a fellow nature enthusiast or someone else in the Naked Hermit Crabs will be able to afford the time to send in a rebuttal. Honestly, I don't see the point of replying, since the points listed in my letter, which was published on April 22, are still applicable to this one. But I would say that it is still essential to address a lot of the suggestions raised in this latest letter, which once again indicates a lack of understanding and awareness of the costs involved and the potential economic, political, and ecological impacts that will ensue should such an idea be carried out.