PUB steps up flood protection efforts ahead of monsoon

They include offering sandbags to those who may be hit, more drainage checks at key sites

Businesses and residents in flood-prone areas can now request sandbags from the PUB, with the national water agency stepping up flood protection measures as the north-east monsoon sets in.

Singapore will experience wet weather and possible flash floods over the next four months because of the monsoon season, the PUB said in a statement yesterday.

Climate change has meant more unpredictable weather, so the PUB is making further efforts to prepare Singaporeans for the coming wet season, said its director of catchment and waterways Yeo Keng Soon.

For instance, the agency is issuing advisories to those in low-lying, flood-prone areas as well as offering sandbags on request to about 600 residents and busi-nesses in these areas to help them guard against flood waters entering their premises.

It will also be working with the Automobile Association of Singapore to provide its members with safety tips for navigating through flash floods, which can occur within minutes.

Already, the PUB has stepped up its checks on the drainage systems at critical installations and construction sites around Singapore to ensure they are unobstructed and can convey storm water during heavy rain.

The agency will also carry out round-the-clock online flood monitoring using water-level sensors and closed circuit television cameras, while a Quick Response Team will be on standby during the monsoon season to check drains for chokes and render assistance during flash floods.

Flood protection efforts go beyond monsoon preparations, the PUB said, as it works with building developers to implement measures that slow down run-off into the public drainage system, through features such as on-site detention tanks and rain gardens.

Mixed-use development Paya Lebar Quarter, for example, has incorporated features that can control storm-water run-off at the source and cleanse the water before it is discharged into the Geylang River.

They can hold about 1,000 cubic m of water during periods of heavy rainfall. The amount is equivalent to about a third of an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

 
 

The PUB said it has also completed major drainage projects this year, such as one in September that reduced flood risks in Orchard Road.

Drainage improvement works are currently ongoing at 74 locations, while works to enhance flood protection for the Bukit Timah area will start in the first quarter of next year.

Heavy downpours caused flash floods in several parts of Singa-pore last month, including in parts of Choa Chu Kang, Bukit Batok and Geylang.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 01, 2018, with the headline 'PUB steps up flood protection efforts ahead of monsoon'. Print Edition | Subscribe