Opened in spring 2012, Gardens by the Bay features an aquatic ecosystem with sustainable water cycles
Singapore government officials’ vision to become a “city in a garden” came to fruition by redeveloping Marina Bay and boldly allocating prime land and a hefty budget for that purpose. Years of construction later, the Gardens by the Bay officially opened in the spring of 2012, incorporating an environmentally sustainable system that encompasses a lake system in which aeration assists in the ecological process.
The first phase of the Gardens by the Bay cost 1 billion Singapore dollars (U.S. $804,358,000) and occupies 133 acres. The engineering firm for the project was CPG Consultants Pte Ltd. Utilizing prime land in the heart of the new downtown was not an easy decision but the expansive, beautiful park was an important element of the downtown renovation of Marina Bay South, similar to Central Park in New York or Hyde Park in London.
The Gardens' highlights include horticultural sites such as the vertical gardens called Supertrees, the Flower Dome and the Cloud forest conservatories that also feature environmentally sustainable functions. Photovoltaic cells harness solar energy for lighting and are also used in the cooled conservatories as air exhaust receptacles.
Maintaining an Aquatic Ecosystem
The Dragonfly Lake is a key component amongst the pristine park in which planners designed for sustainable cycles for water throughout the gardens. The Gardens’ lake system incorporates key ecological processes and functions as a living system. It acts as a natural filtration system for water from the Gardens’ catchment and provides aquatic habitats for biodiversity such as fishes and dragonflies.
Encompassing two main lakes, the Dragonfly Lake and Kingfisher Lake, the lake system is designed to be an extension of the Marina Reservoir. Water runoff from within the Gardens is captured by the lake system and cleansed by aquatic plants before being discharged into the reservoir. Naturally treated water from the lake system is also used in the built-in irrigation system for the Gardens.
The lake system depicts the role and importance of plants in the healthy functioning of our ecosystem. It raises awareness of the value that aquatic plants play in nature, and highlights the significance of clean water in sustaining biodiversity.
Boosting Aeration & Circulation
Habitats for fish and dragonfly are created within the lake system by maintaining a diversity of aquatic plants, good water circulation and aeration. This keeps in check potential problems such as mosquito breeding. The Aire-O2  aspirator aerator, manufactured by Aeration Industries Intl.  of Chaska, Minn., was chosen to provide the proper aeration and circulation required this aquatic ecosystem.
Three 3-hp float-mounted aerators were installed in the lake. Two monitoring stations cycle the aerators  on and off as determined by the temperature and dissolved oxygen probe measurements. Of equal importance is the aerator’s ability to maintain a required velocity to ensure proper circulation within the lake system.
These aspirator aerators have successfully restored water quality in a variety of applications such as a Korean harbor for the Olympics, Asian Games river restoration sites and water beautification at the Versailles Palace in France, to name a few.
A natural method of nutrient removal working with the aerators are aquatic plants and reed beds that absorb nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus in the water, helping to minimize algae bloom and aids in better water quality.
Icon of Singapore
Access to the Gardens is via a walkway from the new Marina Bay Sands Hotel that boasts being the ultimate in luxury and features breathtaking views from its rooftop Sands Sky Park and Infinity Pool, all of which overlook the Gardens by the Bay.
The government officials believe the Gardens are a place that Singaporeans can be proud of and identify with. And, it is a place for all global visitors can enjoy and experience this 21st century icon of Singaporean environmental stewardship.
Cheri Cohen is vice president, marketing, of Aeration Industires Intl. Cohen can be reached at [email protected]