Wetline, Klang River

3rd Place in FuturArc Prize 2020

Revival of Klang River As Urban Resilience Infrastructure

Klang River as the main water body cutting across Kuala Lumpur City Centre and Klang Valley, eventually flows to Straits of Malacca, is originated from the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge and Titiwangsa Mountain Range. Consists of 11 major tributaries, Klang River stretches approximately 120 km in length and drains a basin of about 1,288 km2. It is certainly a prominent natural entity since the civilization in Peninsular Malaya, as tin mining centre, transportation path, food resources, religious rituals, farming and trading hub- which is once a key source of Malaya’s wealth.

Even until today, the river plays a significant role in rapid urbanism of Kuala Lumpur and Klang Valley area- being an alternative water supply source and flood mitigation basin. However, the river is much neglected in our current city planning, due to lack of awareness and devastating growth of population that leads to urban sprawl. Flowing through Klang Valley which is a heavily populated area of more than 4 million people, current Klang river is considered too polluted for practical and recreational use that its appearance looks like a vast drainage rather a natural river. Heavy development has narrowed certain stretches of the river to the point that it resembles a large storm drain in some places, contributes to flash floods in Kuala Lumpur, especially during heavy rain season.

Still, few projects launched for the river preservation measures, where the most recent one is ROL (River of Life). This river rehabilitation and revitalization program aims to improve the water quality up to the level for safety contact; to enact a master plan for various districts along both rivers for beautification and an increase in economic viability; and to promote an increase of private sector investment in Greater Kuala Lumpur/ Klang Valley. The maintenance is privitazed under 30 years of concessions, managed by few firms. However, the project was unsuccessful in transforming the river as what are expected to achieve, mostly due to systematic failures.

Hence, we choose to begin the WETLINE project at this particular section of Klang River, is a responsive action corresponds to the ROL project- to extend its feasibility and reposition its holistic mission to ‘Bringing Nature Back into City’. This site is an appropriate spot to kickstart a long-term city planning which prioritizes integration of natural elements in urban areas. Most of all, Klang River is the backbone of how our cities and civilizations started.

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