Craig Road flash flood: Eateries take it in stride

The Craig Road-Tanjong Pagar Road junction where a 17-minute flash flood occurred on Jan 24.
The Craig Road-Tanjong Pagar Road junction where a 17-minute flash flood occurred on Jan 24.PHOTO: LIM MIN ZHANG

SINGAPORE - Wednesday's (Jan 24) flash flood in Craig Road led to an eatery in the area having to close for an hour for rainwater to clear.

However, many of the food and beverage outlets The Straits Times spoke to on Thursday said flooding is a rare occurence.

The Craig Road-Tanjong Pagar Road junction, where many F&B outlets are located, is one of the 55 areas identified by national water agency PUB as hot spots that might experience flash floods due to intense storms or specific localised conditions, such as road depressions.

One F&B establishment located at the site of the flooding said rain water flowed into the premises on Wednesday.

"The flood brought along with it leaves and cigarette butts, so we had to spend an hour clearing up the shop, even though the flood subsided in 15 minutes," said the F&B outlet's manager, who declined to be named.

"Not only could no customers come in during this period, the flood alert also discouraged people from even coming to the area," he added.

Five other eateries in the area said they did not experience flooding in their stretch of the road. However, the rain still had an impact on business. 

Mr Dennis Bonaobra, 29, the manager of burger restaurant Two Blur Guys, said: "When it rains, our customers can drop by as much as 80 per cent, but it's not due to flooding (if it occurs). Rather, they are looking for something hot to drink, like soup, instead."

He added that he has not experienced water entering his restaurant during rainy days for the last three years.

A previous flash flood in the same hot spot caused by intense rain had occurred on Jan 9, affecting two lanes along a 30m stretch.

Director of PUB's catchment and waterways department Yeo Keng Soon said on Jan 17 that it is not practical to design drains to accommodate every extreme storm, as this would lead to significantly higher costs and the use of a lot more land. 

Security officer Abdulaziz Taib, 64, who has worked in the Tanjong Pagar area for more than 20 years, said that flooding along the road is not common, noting that it could happen two to three times a year.

"Maybe it is not worth taxpayers' money to upgrade the drainage system if the flooding happens so rarely," he added.