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Flood Respite As Prevention Plans Brought Forward

Jan 26 2007 (TODAY)

Gracia Chiang

The most flood-prone areas of Singapore will have extra protection before
this year ends. This means that the startling photographs of a bunch of
nurseries under water - which were splashed in media reports recently -
could become a thing of the past.

The Public Utilities Board (PUB) announced yesterday that it was bringing
forward its project to prevent a repeat of the flash floods at Joan Road
and Olive Road - the site of the eight nurseries.

The earth drain there will be replaced by a wider concrete canal. This
will be ready by October, about three months ahead of the original
schedule. Another flood-prone area, Cuscaden Road, will also get relief
earlier than planned.

Meanwhile, work on a new canal, costing $12.8 million, is already underway
in Commonwealth Avenue. It is expected to be ready by the end of this

"These are areas that are known to suffer from flooding," said PUB's
director of drainage, Mr Yap Kheng Guan.

Before the recent thunderstorms wreaked their havoc, dredging works at
Cuscaden Road as well as Joan and Olive Roads had been fairly effective.

Still, the danger of flooding has existed in these areas, either because
of small canal capacities or because of the natural terrain. A 30 cm-deep
road depression along a 50m stretch of Cuscaden Road, for example, creates
a bowl effect where water can be collected.

Heavy rainfall within a short time can give rise to flash floods, said Mr

The road level at the junction of Tomlinson and Cuscaden Road will be
raised by June. Over at Commonwealth Avenue, PUB is also taking interim
measures such as increasing the number of drainage holes from 10 to 20 and
installing 10 small dams to slow the flow of water.

Apart from heavy rains, high tides can also cause flooding. The Marina
Barrage project will block seawater from flowing into canals and help
flood-prone areas such as Chinatown and Little India.

PUB conducts yearly checks to make sure that there are no drain blockages.
It also ensures that construction projects do not contribute to the floods
either by obstructing the flow of water or altering the terrain.

"We will not let go of any flash flood," said Mr Yap. "We will look at it
and see what we can do."