Algae bloom turns Kranji Reservoir green


Cause for concern: The massive algae bloom at Kranji Reservoir has turned the waters green. — The Straits Times/Asia News Network

Cause for concern: The massive algae bloom at Kranji Reservoir has turned the waters green. — The Straits Times/Asia News Network

Singapore: The diving pool at the Rio Olympics is not the only body of water that has caused alarm because of its unusual colour – an algae bloom has turned large swathes of Kranji Reservoir emerald green.

Environmentalist Ria Tan, who runs wildlife website WildSinga­pore, posted pictures of the bloom on her website on Wednesday.

In her post, Tan, 55, expressed concern that the discharge of freshwater algae from the reservoir into the Johor Strait may affect marine life.

However, the authorities said that the bloom has not affected fish in the reservoir or nearby fish farms and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, although they are monitoring the situation.

National water agency PUB said water from the reservoir is released into the sea only when levels are high, and freshwater algae is unlikely to survive in a marine environment, which has a much higher salinity.

Professor William Chen, director of Nanyang Technological University’s Food Science and Technology programme, said freshwater algae blooms usually result from an excess of nutrients, which may originate from sources such as wastewater.

The warmer weather this year may also have been a contributing factor, said Prof Chen.

He noted that decomposing algae consumes dissolved oxygen in the water, which can suffocate fish.

Last year, an algae bloom between February and March wiped out over 500 tonnes of fish in 77 coastal fish farms off the East and West Johor straits.

When reporters visited the Kranji Dam yesterday, the contrast between the clear blue of the Johor Strait and opaque green of the reservoir water was stark.

A fishing enthusiast, who declined to be named, was seen casting his reel at the reservoir’s fishing grounds yesterday.

“The water has been green for a few months already. It’s harder to catch fish because of lower visibility, and the fish seem a bit sluggish because of the lower oxygen levels,” he said.

“But this happens sometimes when it’s hot. I’ve seen worse.” — The Straits Times/Asia News Network

singapore