Monday, 9 September 2013

Heavy flash floods hit Singapore again

Idea of the '50-year flood' has been misunderstood

A picture posted on Facebook shows cars being stranded along the Ayer Rajah Expressway during one of the recent flash-floods

For many people, the sight of all four city-bound lanes of the Ayer Rajah Expressway submerged just over a week ago would have triggered a thought along the lines of: "Isn't this sort of thing only supposed to happen once every 50 years?"

This half-century time-frame entered the national consciousness in 2009, when then minister for the environment and water resources Yaacob Ibrahim said the flooding in Orchard Road that year was a "freak event" that happened once every 50 years.

Dr Yaacob was referring specifically amount of rainfall that caused the flood although his quote that is now dredged up every time there is a flood (and there have been several) as proof of how badly the authorities misjudged the flood risk here.

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Heavy rain fell over the central and western parts of Singapore this morning from 8.15am to 9.30am. The heaviest rainfall was recorded at Kent Ridge with a rainfall of 102.8mm from 8.10am to 9.40am. It peaked between 8.15am to 8.50am, with a rainfall of 82.2mm.

Flash floods were reported at the following locations:
- Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) 9.6km, towards East Coast Parkway (ECP) 
- Commonwealth Avenue/Lane/Drive 
- Junction of South Bridge Road and Maxwell Road
- Junction of Cuscaden Road and Tomlinson Road
- Alexandra Road, towards Lower Delta Road (near Ganges Avenue)
- Lorong Kismis

The areas most affected by the flash floods were the AYE and Commonwealth Avenue.  At the AYE, the drains overflowed due to the intense rainfall and rising tide.  Flood waters reached a depth of half a metre and subsided within 40 minutes.  All four lanes of AYE towards ECP were closed to traffic during the flood. PUB has plans to upgrade the Sungei Pandan Kechil, which serves this section of the AYE. 

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AYE flooding: Tidal gate to be built at expressway-adjacent canal

As a preliminary measure, the PUB will expand the openings of the culverts, or beneath-road drains, that pass through the AYE. (Photo courtesy of PUB)
Yahoo Newsroom - As a preliminary measure, the PUB will expand the openings of the culverts, or beneath-road drains, that pass through the AYE. (Photo courtesy of PUB)

The Public Utilities Board (PUB) will build a two-metre-tall tidal gate within six to nine months' time to stem the flow of rainwater into the Sungei Pandan Kechil canal.

Additionally, it will spend the coming months until the end of this year expanding the openings of drains passing beneath the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) to improve the flow of water into and out of them.

These measures were introduced after the AYE was closed for 40 minutes on Thursday morning after the canal overflowed from the heavy rain and rising tide, causing flooding on all four of its lanes.

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A simple solution of more drains for less floods?

Yesterday morning’s heavy storm brought more than 100 mm of rain to various parts of Singapore. Areas affected included the National University of Singapore and the Sungai Ulu Pandan and Sungai Pandan Kechil reservior banks, both of which overflowed. The flood created a major inconvenience for those going to work and to school.

Minister of Environment and Water Resources (MEWR), Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, said on his Facebook page that the drainage improvement work at Commonwealth Avenue will be completed by June 2015. He also said that to resolve the flooding at the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE), which had to be shut down during yesterday’s flood, will require a major project to expand Sungai Pandan Kechil. This will be expedited in view of the recent flooding, the minister said.

Flooding is not a new occurrence in Singapore. At Commonwealth, for example, there had already been records of similar floodings back in 2007.

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Flash floods hit Singapore again
“GG.. Shoes completely soaked and wet.. there’s still water in my shoes.. #ponding #kentridge” wrote user ‘russell_looi’ on his Instagram profile 8.29am, 5 September 2013.

Singapore was affected by flash floods on 5 September due to unusually heavy torrential rains.

The Public Utilities Board (PUB) issued warnings of "heavy flood risk" in many areas in Singapore on its Facebook page.

According to feedback from the PUB and online users, the affected areas seem to be in the central parts of Singapore.

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Flash Floods Hit Several Areas In Singapore

Flash floods were reported in several parts of Singapore, following a heavy downpour over the central and western parts of Singapore Thursday morning.

The rain, lasting an hour and 15 minutes, began at 8.15am.

In a statement, Singapore's Public Utilities Board (Pub) said the heaviest rainfall was recorded at Kent Ridge with a rainfall of 102.8mm from 8.10am to 9.40am. It peaked between 8.15am to 8.50am, with a rainfall of 82.2mm.

Heavy flash floods hit Singapore
Singapore floods

Many parts of Singapore were affected by flash floods on September 5 in the morning after heavy thundery showers went down on the city state, bringing traffic to a complete halt, uprooting trees and closing a section of the Ayer Rajah Expressway.

Tree fell on cars and fences collapsed, users reported on Twitter and Facebook, causing massive traffic jam along Dunearn Road

Singapore’s national water agency PUB said on its Facebook page that flash floods occurred in several areas in the western part of the city, including the junction of Commonwealth Drive and Commonwealth Avenue, Alexandra Road at the junction of Delta Road, and along the Ayer Rajah Expressway towards Clementi.

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Flash floods hit several areas in western Singapore

Heavy rain triggered flash floods in many areas in the west this morning (Sept 4), closing a section of the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE). The floods had subsided by 9.48am, according to the PUB.

Motorists travelling towards town on the AYE encountered massive congestion before Clementi, with electronic road signs announcing that the three-lane expressway was closed after the Clementi exit. The PUB said that drains overflowed at the AYE due to the intense rainfall and rising tide, with flood waters reaching a depth of half a metre, and subsided within 40 minutes.

All four lanes of AYE towards ECP were closed to traffic during the flood.

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The AYE Closure

How do Singaporeans know that the raining season is upon us? In the past, we look at the sky to see if it's raining. Nowadays, that's not necessary because we can just look at the ground to see if it's flooded

Yesterday, Singapore was faced with a torrential downpour that mostly hit western Singapore. As like the past few years, Singapore now faced the problem of flooding. However, the problem of flooding has now become worse than ever before because yesterday, a major expressway had to be closed due to severe flooding. The AYE (Ayer Rajah Expressway) has to be temporary closed due to the flood and this has gotten government ministers out to put out the fire of criticism.

As this falls under his ministry, the Minister for the Enviroment and Water Resources, Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, has become the frontman of the government on the issue. He was quoted as saying that it's "not acceptable" for a major expressway to shut down due to flooding. He is right, it is not acceptable, but frankly he need to take some blame for the problem.

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Heavy rain on Thursday morning brings flood to several parts of Singapore

Flooding  a "freak event" that occurs "once in 50 years": Yaacob Ibrahim

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Is Vivian Balakrishnan inheriting the flood problem?

Today there was a massive flood at AYE and caused thousands of people to be late for work and many vehicles were flooded and stalled. Vivian Balakrishnan who is the Environmental Minister had inherited the problem from his predecessor was just bad luck or didn't use the resources of his ministry to tackle issues such as Haze and Flooding?

For the Haze, Singapore was caught off guard where the Ministerial panel to tackle the effect of the Haze was only formed after the Haze had subsided. Many people here didn't have the N95 masks and construction workers were not told to stop work dispite PSI of over 400.

Pure bad luck for Vivian or his priority is not correct. He rather spend time fixing the Workers' Party over the Hawker Centre cleaning than to look into strategic issues such as flooding and haze.Or there are Perm Sec, Minister of States and Senior Minister of States cooking up a dish at Environmental Ministry that he not need to show leadership?

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Dr Vivian Balakrishnan is confident to resolve flood - 08 Oct 2011

In the 70s, minister pay $40,000 pa

In the 21st century, minister pay $1,000,000 pa

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Deluge a 'once in 50 years' event

THURSDAY'S deluge which submerged parts of Bukit Timah was a 'freak' event that occurs once in 50 years, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Yaacob Ibrahim said yesterday.

'What happened was very unusual,' he said. 'The intensity was tremendous.'

Shortly after 1pm the skies opened and in the next two hours, almost 110mm of rain fell - almost half the average monthly rainfall for November.

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Otw to NUS as u can see. Kan pua jia lat

How to don't wet

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Flood response not sufficient: Lee Kuan Yew

The Singapore government's measures to reduce the impact of recent floods on homes and businesses were insufficient, the island's founding father Lee Kuan Yew said in remarks published Thursday.

Lee, commenting on Wednesday after Singapore suffered three bouts of severe flooding since mid-June, added that constant rain and limited land area made it difficult to totally prevent floods in the tropical city-state.

"How can you say that the response is sufficient?" Lee was quoted as saying by the Straits Times when asked if the government's measures to alleviate the flooding had been up to standard.

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MM Lee says no amount of engineering can prevent flooding

I am really disappointed with MM when he makes statements like these. He should really read up more on the good work done by Dutch engineers in controlling floods in Netherlands.

MM, in case you do not know and since you like to compare with other countries, a considerable portion of Netherlands is below sea level, which means poor flood control can easily submerse much of the country. I can't remember the last time the country reported flooding. The engineers obviously conquered a problem which many probably wouldnt dreamt of solving.

Stop blaming others and doing nothing! Its time for a change!

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MM Lee: No amount of engineering can prevent floods

This was Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew's response to the recent spate of flash floods that affected many areas in Singapore, including Bukit Timah, Orchard Road and Thomson Road.

MM Lee was speaking on the sidelines of his visit to the Kolam Ayer ABC Waterfront and the River Vista at Kallang, two new projects under the Public Utility Board's Active, Beautiful and Clean - or ABC - Waters Programme.

He said: "Whatever we do, when we get extraordinary rainfall - like we had recently - no amount of engineering can prevent flooding

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Why silting and flooding nowadays?

PUB awards $6m contract for Bukit Timah canal desilting works

National water agency PUB has awarded a contract worth almost $6 million to a unit of locally listed firm OKP Holdings, an infrastructure and civil engineering firm, to carry out desilting works for the 2km Bukit Timah Phase II Diversion Canal.

The site is located around Whitley Road, across from Catholic Junior College.

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Any Fong Shui for Barrage, Sands, Flyer & Merlion?

Creative Architecture

We have a belly full of collected water (Barrage) and a ship perched high and dry atop three pillars (Sands).

Then we have a half lion-half fish (Merlion) spitting water at the Sands.

Finally, we have a giant water wheel (The Flyer), scooping buckets upon buckets of water into the Barrage.

Any Fong Shui experts here?

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Integrated early warning system in the works

The Public Utilities Board (PUB) currently has 32 sensors in key canals to track water levels as part of its flood management system. It will increse the number of sensors to 90 by the end of the year to cover all major waterways, flood-prone areas and hotspots.

Affected premises near existing water level sensors have been invited to subscribe to SMS alerts when the water reaches certain levels.

This was announced in a joint statement issued by PUB and the National Environment Agency (NEA) yesterday.

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Report on Key Conclusions and Recommendations of the Expert Panel on Drainage Design and Flood Protection Measures

Flooding woes – the critical cause of poor soil quality
Flooding woes – the critical cause of poor soil quality
There is an old Geography adage that goes “earthquakes don’t kill people; buildings do.”

Of course, we have never met – and I hope never will meet – with earthquakes or natural disasters of such extent, but the recent wave of flooding and tree falls has struck worry and discontent into the hearts of Singaporeans. Making matters worse is MM Lee Kwan Yew, who drew upon the sacred phrase “act of God,” and prophesied that flooding would be unavoidable. The weatherman too, kindly informed us of more heavy rain and possible flooding ahead.

What a way to bring cheer to those affected by the floods. Instead of finding ingenious ways to mitigate further disasters, they give up and blame – of all things – the weather! What we are facing are not earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or tropical storms like our counterparts in almost every part of the world; surely if other countries can predict and mitigate their natural hazards reasonably well, what excuse do we have for ours? The time is short, the rains and December monsoon season are coming; it is imperative for us to act.

Flooding at Bukit Timah and Orchard areas has been blamed on the combined effect of heavy rains and the inability of the canals to channel the water away effectively. In the spotlight is Stamford canal at Orchard, which was found to be littered with debris and lacking in “design and capacity” . This, coupled with the “100mm of rain over two hours”, caused the canal to burst its banks and flood Orchard road on June 25th

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Tokyo’s vast underground temple-drains: The G-Cans


The G-Cans Underground Temple in Saitama is probably the most massive underground flood management system in the world - comprised of 100s of kilometers of tunnels up to 50 meters underground connecting 5 vast silos and one immense water tank: The Temple. The complex spans 6.3km between Showa in Tokyo and Kasukabe in Saitama, with the power to pump 200 tons of water per second into the Edogawa river. Wow.

This complex- known as the ‘Underground Temple’ for its towering pillars and cavernous scale- is actually free for tourists to visit and photograph. I wanted to go but they only have opening hours on weekdays, and will only allow you on the tour if you speak Japanese- so you can heed directions in the event of an emergency. My Japanese skill is only luke-warm, so I decided to take a virtual Google Image tour instead.

Construction on the Temple began in 1992 and only finished this year- costing around $2 billion. It seems like a huge amount of money for an anti-flooding project- especially as all the rivers are already paved with concrete and bulwarked with giant tetrapods, flood-plains, and levy-mounds. Does Tokyo really require such extreme defensive measures?