Saturday, December 31, 2011

20111223 Orchard Road Flood Again - Media Report & PUB Findings

PUB releases latest findings on Orchard flash floods

Friday, Dec 30, 2011
Findings from investigations of Orchard flash floods show that water could not flow out into Stamford Canal as it was full, said national water agency PUB in a statement today.

Rainwater that drained off from the roof and the back area of Liat Towers overflowed into the basement area from an internal drain as water could not flow out into the canal when it was full.

These were among the findings by PUB with regard to flash floods in the Orchard area on Dec 23, resulting in ankle-deep water in the basement shops of Liat Towers and Lucky Plaza.

Countermeasures fail to stop flooding at Liat Towers
Flash floods hit Liat Towers and other parts of Orchard Road

PUB said that the pumping system at Liat Towers was able to pump out the water from the open basement area when the canal is not full.

When the canal in front of Liat Towers reached full capacity, the pumps were not able to discharge water that had accumulated in the basement into the canal. However, the pumps were still able to divert water onto the pedestrian walkway.

The agency said it is working with the management of Liat Towers to build a perimeter wall along their internal drain to prevent water from flowing into the basement.

As for Lucky Plaza, the management and relevant authorities are in the process of implementing flood barriers.

Prolonged and heavy rain caused the flash floods at the Orchard Road area last Friday afternoon. A total of 152.8mm of rain fell, equivalent to about half the average monthly total of rain recorded for the entire December and over the last 142 years.

No floods in Orchard Rd, just 'ponding': PUB
by Ng Jing Yng 04:46 AM Dec 24, 2011

Singapore - As heavy rain pelted down on Orchard Road yesterday, Liat Towers activated its S$200,000 flood barrier system. As an added measure, plastic barriers were also distributed. But they proved no match for the floodwaters, as levels reached knee height and poured into the basement-level shops - reminiscent of the scene in June last year when floodwaters last hit the building. Yesterday, some customers even had to form a chain of chairs to get out from one of the affected stores.

Prolonged heavy rain which fell over a three-hour period over the southern and central parts of Singapore resulted in flash floods at numerous areas. Cuscaden Road, Newton Circus, Kampong Java, Lincoln Road, Wee Nam Road, Cambridge Road, the junction of Moulmein and Thomson roads in front of United Square, and the junction of Bukit Timah Road and Sixth Avenue were affected.

Flood waters reached a height of 30cm in some areas and generally subsided within an hour, except at Cambridge Road, Newton Circus and the Moulmein-Thomson junction in front of United Square, where waters subsided by 6pm, said national water agency PUB. "The affected areas are mainly low-lying areas," it added.

While the total recorded rainfall at Orchard Road was 152.8mm, PUB said "there was no flooding at Orchard Road". "However, water ponded at the open area of Liat Towers, the underpass between Lucky Plaza and Ngee Ann City, and the basement of Lucky Plaza due to the sustained heavy downpour," it added.

The underpass between Lucky Plaza and Ngee Ann City remained closed yesterday evening. Some shop owners at the ground floor of Lucky Plaza said that water levels were ankle-high, but the situation this time was better than during previous floods.

At retail store Giordano, store in-charge Lyn Molino estimated losses of up to S$7,000 and said that customers were not only deterred by the wet floors but also by the stench from yesterday's floodwaters. "This is supposed to be a good opportunity for us to have extra earnings but it has all been affected," she said.

The floodwaters also washed out business at Starbucks and fast-food restaurant Wendy's, among other establishments, at Liat Towers. Wendy's manager (marketing and branding) Seng Woon Fa estimated losses of about 60 per cent of the day's earnings. "We are now just busy cleaning up and hope to resume business as soon as possible ... we are still checking if any equipment is spoiled," he said.

Earlier yesterday, before the rain fell, PUB said drains would be widened in some areas next year. Eight of the 10 projects will commence in the first quarter, of which five of will involve expanding roadside drains at flood-prone areas, including parts of Chinatown, roads near Bencoolen Street as well as Arab Street and Rochor Canal Road.

The PUB will also improve drainage in three other non-flood-prone areas: Roads will be raised at Jalan Dusun, Jalan Datoh and Jalan Raja Udang. And drains will be expanded at Shanghai Road, Wee Nam Road, Outram Road and Tiong Bahru Road.

Yesterday, up to eight gates at Marina Barrage were opened to maintain the water level at Marina Reservoir within the normal range. PUB advised the public to exercise caution as flash floods could occur in the event of heavy storms. The public can also call the PUB 24-hour Call Centre at 1800-284-6600 or go to PUB's Facebook page or on its iPhone app, iPUBOne, to report flash floods or to check on the flood situation.

The public can also get updates on water level information in key canals/drains at PUB's Facebook page, its Twitter account,, or website,

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