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Left high and dry

The recent dry spell has taken its toll on shopping centres and outdoor attractions with water features.

With the school holidays coming up next week, parents planning to take their children to fountains or water playgrounds to beat the heat may be disappointed.

CapitaLand, which owns 19 shopping centres in Singapore, has recently decided to shut most of its properties' water features, such as the fountains at Bugis Junction and Clarke Quay.

And they are not alone. The Botanic Gardens, Marina Barrage, and Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) have also scaled down their water features.

Said an RWS spokesman: "In this current dry spell, we have turned off some of the water fountains and features at Adventure Cove Waterpark, Universal Studios Singapore and in other parts of RWS, in order to conserve water."

These drastic measures were prompted by Singapore's driest month on record since 1869, with just 0.2mm of rainfall in February.

Mr Tan Seng Chai, a spokesman for CapitaLand which operates popular shopping centres such as Plaza Singapura and ION Orchard: "During this period, a majority of our Singapore properties will shut off external water features. We will also postpone non-essential cleaning such as facade and carpark cleaning."

Among the CapitaLand casualties are the fountains at Bugis Junction, Clarke Quay, and water play areas at Lot One, IMM, and Sembawang Shopping Centre.

Mrs Linda Hashim, 42, took her children to IMM's wet Garden Plaza playground yesterday, but found that it was closed and had to settle for the dry playground instead.

She told The New Paper: "I'm disappointed because I brought them here to play with the water in this hot and dry weather."

Some parents who took their children to IMM moved on to nearby shopping centre Westgate, which still operates the water features at its playground.

Serangoon mall nex, which is developed by Gold Ridge, shortened the opening hours of their water playground on Monday.

"This is the first step to ensure that we start saving water," said Ms Doreen Yeo, a spokesman for the mall.

She said they hope to reduce the amount of water lost to "evaporation and constant play".

The water play area at the Jacob Ballas Children's Garden in the Botanic Gardens has also been shut due to "dry weather", along with the Water Playground at Marina Barrage.

WHERE ELSE TO GO

Others, like Gardens by the Bay and VivoCity, have responded less dramatically.

Gardens by the Bay has "moderated the intensity of the water jets in the water play area" and while some water features at Vivocity have been temporarily turned off, its iconic rooftop water feature remains.

For now, parents are left with these and a handful of other oases like 112 Katong, Wild Wild Wet, and the Kiddy Fun Station Pool at Jurong East Swimming Complex.