Thursday, July 29, 2010

Act faster to solve drainage woes

Jul 24, 2010

THURSDAY'S report ("100mm: Expect floods if this much rain falls in an hour") confirms that there was nothing freakish or extraordinary about the recent storms. What was extraordinary were the serious floods that occurred within a span of one month as a result of the storms.

It is clear our current drainage system is failing to cope with the rapid urbanisation of recent years, which took away much water-permeable grounds.

[So, you'd prefer to walk on dirt tracks? Your choice: flood or mud.]

So steps are now being taken to raise roads and improve drains, and works will be expedited where possible. But why are most of the major tenders being called only in October or November, and some even next year?

Singapore prides itself as being able to achieve in record time completion of high-profile projects, such as the Formula One circuit and the two integrated resorts. Why can't we do the same and have the entire drainage system upgraded in record time?

[Because the F1 is sponsored by private capital, and the govt taxes hotels to recover costs. IRs were built with private capital. So who's going to pay for accelerated construction of drains? In any case, to improve drainage, works will probably mean diverting or even reducing drainage capacity temporarily in order to upgrade it. That means if it rains heavily, it would cause more floods. Must wait for drier season.]

Given the widespread disruption to lives and severe losses already suffered in the recent floods, and the high chance that more is to come (with possible loss of lives), wouldn't it be justified that we accord the greatest urgency to tackle the problem?

[PUB has already stated that they would bring forward their drainage improvement plans. Threatening the possibility of loss of lives is an appeal to emotions. And hyperbole. It would be irony if there is a drought after the completion of the drainage improvement works.]

Francis Kwek

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