Minister for Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said in parliament today that it is “not feasible” for the PUB to build drains to a capacity that accommodates extreme rainfall incidences.
He said that building drains to accommodate “every extreme rainfall event” would require the Government to acquire massive amounts of land and incur much higher costs.
This, he said, without the guarantee that there will not be floods in the future due to the onset of climate change.
Giving the example of Bedok Canal, Mr Masagos said that the canal would need to be widened to at least 62m, displacing the Bedok Park Connector and community spaces adjacent to the canal, and possibly affecting the surrounding residential areas.
However, Mr Masagos said that the PUB does take into account factors such as terrain and rainfall intensity when designing drains.
Mr Masagos was responding to questions from MPs who asked about flash floods that occurred at 9 locations in eastern Singapore on 8 Jan.
He said that flash floods on the day were due to intense rainfall that temporarily exceeded existing design capacity of drains.
He added that with climate change, Singapore can expect more intense rainfall “to be the norm in future”.
“To prepare for this, PUB has raised drainage design standards since 2011, so that our drains can handle up to 45 per cent higher rainfall intensities.”
Mr Masagos said that the PUB has so far completed drain improvement works at 327 locations, with another 77 undergoing similar works.