Waterworks and Boat Quay by C.J. Kleingrothe

Water shortage was a serious problem in early Singapore. One of the earliest waterworks in Singapore, MacRitchie Reservoir, located at Thomson Road, was completed sometime between the 1860s and 1870s. More waterworks were built, including Pearl’s Hill Reservoir (completed in the early 1900s) and the Kallang River Reservoir (later renamed Pierce Reservoir, completed in the 1910s). Despite these efforts, the demand for water continued to surpass supply. Boat Quay flourished with the settlement of traders and labourers as well as the construction of trading facilities in the area. It maintained its role as a vital trading centre for nearly a century before its decline in the late 20th century.