Flash flood at Marine Parade on 7 July; Minister said building more drains “not feasible” to tackle flash floods

In a Facebook post dated 7 July, former Senior Political Correspondent for The Straits Times, Mr Ismail Kassim made a commentary regarding a flash flood believed to be at a coffeeshop in Marine Parade.

A photograph of a person, whose upper body is obscured by a fully-spread copy of the Straits Times he was reading, became the primary subject of the post, captioned with a poem by Mr Ismail, in which he described being "stranded" there even "after one hour" due to the stagnation of the flood water in the area.

He ended his short verse by questioning the efficiency of the current management of floods through drainage: "Is this the Swiss standard / By 2020 you promised us”, suggesting that not enough swift action is being taken to reduce the frequency of flash floodings, in spite of all of the proposed measures to tackle the issue.

Several other photos of the flash flood were also added on the same day by Mr Ismail.

May Lian commented under Mr Ismail’s post:

Overdigging at marine parade?

Freddie Kee said:

No more Marine Parade...it is Marine Pond now.

Juliana Juliana commented:

Unbelievable.

Derrick Ngan said:

The swiss snow melted. That is all. 😉

Adrian Oei commented:

If I'm not mistaken, the Swiss have got water ways too. This is his promise for 2020. It came earlier.

Despite ongoing measures taken to prevent flash floods in Singapore, building more drains to cover all possible extreme rainfall occurrences remain an impractical one, according to Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli.

Speaking to other Members of the Parliament on 5 February, Mr Masagos said as an example that the width of the Bedok Canal would have to be expanded to at least 62 metres.

The expansion would be equivalent to the size of "a 16-lane expressway,” he said.

Consequently, the Bedok Park Connector and community spaces adjacent to the canal, and possibly surrounding private residential areas, might suffer displacement as a result of the expansion, he added.

Mr Masagos made his statements in response to questions tabled in Parliament from five other Members, in light of heightened public concerns over the flash floods that happened at the start of the year.

Source: gov.sg YouTube Channel

The flash floods had affected nice locations in East Singapore, many of which were low-lying areas that made them susceptible to flooding. Only two areas — Tampines Road opposite Jalan Teliti, and Arumugam Road in Ubi — had a previous history of flash floods, according to TODAY Online.

Four of the affected locations are served by roadside drains that lead to the Bedok Canal, which is being expanded from its existing width of 38m to 44m at a cost of S$1.2 billion. These works, which began in 2016 and are expected to be completed by the first quarter of next year.

This means that the canal will be wide enough to accommodate a 10-lane expressway.

Touching on the Jan 8 flash floods, he said that drainage improvement works are already being carried out at eight of the nine affected locations.

Works at the Tampines Canal between Upper Serangoon and Sungei Serangoon are expected to be completed by the third quarter of this year, and works at the Geylang River will be completed by the first quarter of next year, he elaborated.

A temporary construction access road built by the constructor had worsened the situation by obstructing the earth drain in an adjacent worksite at Tampines Avenue 12.

The PUB has worked with the developer to improve drainage there via a permanent drainage system built in conjunction with the upcoming development project at the adjacent worksite, will serve as a long-term measure, he said.

To that end, the Government has invested S$1.2 billion in drainage improvement works since 2012, and will pump in another S$500 million over the next two to three years.

Since 2012, drainage improvement works at 327 locations have been completed, with 22 more planned for this year.