Heavy rainfall over the weekend led to flash floods across Singapore, with a number of pavements being flooded in the western and central areas. These included places in Dunearn Road near Sime Darby Centre and the park connector along Ulu Pandan Canal, because of high water levels in adjacent drains and canals. Flooding has been a perennial challenge for a country that receives abundant, and sometimes overabundant, rainfall because of its tropical climate. For example, 1954 witnessed several serious floods, while the December 1969 floods were considered to have been Singapore’s worst in 35 years. Two major floods were recorded in 1978, and several instances of major flooding occurred in 1980, 1984 and 1985. The problem persisted into this century, with the Bukit Timah Canal overflowing in 2009, and flash floods taking place in Orchard Road in 2010 and 2011.
Substantial investment in infrastructural development has alleviated the economic and social impact of these outbursts of nature, which are exacerbated now by climate change. Singapore’s approach to storm water management seeks to balance its need for water supply with the imperative of controlling flood risks. Widening and deepening of drains and canals are complemented by the attention also paid to both the source of the problem, where storm water run-off is generated, and places where floods may occur.