The illuminated floating fountain at MacRitchie Reservoir

The idea of building a reservoir in Singapore to supply the island’s water needs was proposed as early as 1823 by Dr. John Crawfurd, the second British Resident of Singapore (1823-1826). Due to a lack of funds, concrete plans for building a reservoir were not drafted until 1857 when Chinese merchant Tan Kim Seng decided to donate $13,000 for the improvement of the island’s water supply. Further funding shortages delayed the construction of a reservoir, which was finally completed in 1868 in the Thomson area. The Thomson Road Reservoir was improved over the years, notably through a dam expansion project undertaken by Municipal Engineer James MacRitchie in 1891. In recognition of his contributions, the reservoir was renamed MacRitchie Reservoir in 1922. A public park was developed around the reservoir by the government and officially opened by then Minister for Law and National Development E. W. Barker in August 1967. Notable landmarks found in the park included: a bandstand perched above the waters of the reservoir that was accessible by a timber bridge; an illuminated floating fountain located further out in the reservoir; and a tea kiosk housed in a hexagonal structure situated atop a hill.