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8 - From Flood Prevention and Flood Management to ABC Waters

from PART III - CLOSING THE WATER LOOP

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 October 2015

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Summary

Today this (drainage and reservoir) system helps us collect water, store water, and control floods. So we have taken care of the basics well. But moving on, there is further potential — if we think creatively and work together. With some planning and enhancement, the water bodies and waterways can be changed into vibrant areas for everyone in the community to enjoy. There can be more lifestyle activities and people will have more recreational choices. This in essence is the spirit of the ABC Waters Programme.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, at the Kallang River Fiesta “Fun & Joy” cum Launch of PUB's ABC Waters Programme demonstration project at Kallang River/Kolam Ayer, 16 April 2006

In the 1960s and 1970s, floods were common and widespread in Singapore, especially in the city centre, which was built on relatively low-lying land. As the ground levels of developments in these areas were usually barely above high tide level, they would flood almost every time heavy rain coincided with high tide. Floods like these not only caused great inconvenience and disruption to people's lives but also damage to property.

SEVERE FLOODS IN SINGAPORE

Flood of 1969

In December 1969, Singapore experienced 467 millimetres of rain within a 17-hour period, the second highest rainfall ever recorded in Singapore in a single day. The heavy rain, coupled with a high tide of 3.1 metres, resulted in extensive floods across the island. The most severely affected areas were Bukit Timah Valley and Potong Pasir, where several stretches of road were submerged under 2 metres of flood waters. The floods claimed the lives of five people, and more than 3,000 people were evacuated. The city transport system was paralyzed, and all roads and rail links between Singapore and West Malaysia were severed. Total damages were estimated at S$4.3 million (based on 1969 prices).

Flood of 1978

In December 1978, Singapore experienced its most severe flood ever. A total of 512.4 millimetres of rain was recorded over a 24-hour period — the highest in a single day and almost a quarter of Singapore's average annual rainfall. To compound matters, the rain coincided with a very high tide of 3.2 metres (the average high tide level is about 2.8 metres.

Type
Chapter
Information
Clean, Green and Blue
Singapore's Journey Towards Environmental and Water Sustainability
, pp. 201 - 230
Publisher: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute
Print publication year: 2008

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