Water Systems,
Active Lifestyles
Rejuvenated. Functional. Sustainable.
Understanding climate change and wanting to ensure that stormwater management infrastructures are able to cope with rising sea levels and projected heavier rainfalls, Lendlease sought to build a system that would help mitigate the effects of flooding. At the same time, it aimed to transform Paya Lebar into a vibrant recreational space with beautiful gardens and cleaner waters for the community’s enjoyment. In 2015, Lendlease embarked on its Active Beautiful Clean Waters (ABC Waters) journey – a national initiative that aimed to make waters beautiful, functional and clean. Here’s Lendlease’s story of how it reinvented water systems in Paya Lebar and became Singapore’s first mixed-use development by a private developer to receive the ABC Waters certification.


Establishing Needs

Lendlease worked to understand the needs of the community it serves, while meeting the ABC Waters key design guidelines – that is, to detain and treat stormwater runoff for discharge rates management and cleaner water, create communal spaces and areas, and enhance aesthetics and biodiversity of the landscape.

Find out more about the 5W1H pointers below.



Bubbling Ideas

Together with Web Earth, a firm that specialises in environmentally sustainable engineering solutions, Lendlease worked towards managing stormwater quality. It also roped in landscape architects from Grant Associates to ensure that the structures were beautiful as they were functional.

The Brief
  • Reduce the heat island effect, a phenomenon where an urban area is signifcantly warmer than less-industrialised areas due to buildings, roads and vehicles releasing heat into the environment
  • Promote biodiversity and beautiful landscape
  • Decrease peak stormwater runoff and in turn, reduce soil erosion
  • Reduce or avoid the use of water detention tanks (tanks that collect and manage stormwater runoff during rain) to minimise installation and maintenance costs, as well as to maximise space
  • Bring the community closer to the water and enabling an active lifestyle in a pleasant environment
The Design Approach: Features Considered


How Our Plans Flowed

Lendlease, Web Earth and Grant Associates worked to integrate ABC Waters design features innovatively into the landscape. The idea was to build an “ecological civilisation” – where development and environmental conservation come together while promoting a harmonious union between people and nature – in the precinct.

These features were proposed and adopted:

Rain Gardens

Three rain gardens were designed to filter, detain and trap stormwater runoff from about 31% of the four-hectare development, with flood mitigation and clean water as the overarching aims. Some areas, with their dense vegetation and soil areas, were planned to serve as natural filters to sieve out impurities, improve the water quality and slow down runoff before discharging them into public drains, canals and reservoirs. Some garden beds were specially designed to filter stormwater runoff from surrounding areas and stormwater pipes, and integrated with a drainage cells tank underneath that provides temporary storage for rainwater, to control peak flow discharge and mitigate flooding.

The rain gardens were to be easily accessible by the public, and feature seating spaces and recreational areas such as the kids’ play area and outdoor refreshment area.



Green roofs, sky gardens and vertical greenery

These were proposed to be incorporated along the building facades to reduce heat build-up on exposed roof surfaces while slowing down stormwater discharge. At the same time, they were set to enhance aesthetics and biodiversity within the development.


Testing Waters

Little testing to seek the best solutions needed to be carried out, as the various teams were able to decide on the most viable solutions based on their expertise.

The Waters at Paya Lebar: Before and After