- The Straits Times
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Singapore – except, instead of snow, we have the rainy northeast monsoon season.
The National Environment Agency said last Friday (Nov 15) that the monsoon season this year is expected to last till March 2020, bringing showers to Singapore and the surrounding region.
Since the first two months of the season typically bring frequent and heavy showers, officers from PUB are now making their rounds to inform residents on how to protect their homes and stay safe during floods.
Some homes in flood-prone or low-lying areas in the eastern and central parts of Singapore have also been introduced to new Dam Easy Flood Panels (DFPs), which the authority has loaned out.
The panels – with side panels than can be extended in just five minutes – can be easily installed at doorways to prevent floodwaters from entering homes by creating a watertight seal around the barrier. Unlike conventional flood panels, these panels do not need fixings that can sometimes damage doorways.
There are only 20 sets of flood panels available for loan, and only homes or businesses in localised areas – where conventional measures to alleviate floods are not feasible – are eligible.
There is also no way to apply for a loan. According to PUB, the homes have already been selected based on the suitability of their premises, doorway size and door frame type.
After the monsoon season, PUB will gather feedback from the selected users to evaluate the usability of the flood panels in future.
In addition, PUB’s Quick Response Team vehicles are now equipped with portable flood barriers, which can help divert and confine floodwaters to the inner lanes on roads so that traffic remains passable.
These barriers are lightweight and self-anchoring, so they can be quickly deployed in the event of a flash flood. PUB said it is also exploring the potential use of the barriers at construction sites for temporary diversion of storm water to facilitate construction activities.
In the meantime, reminders have been sent to all public agencies, town councils, and some 4,000 building owners and managing agents to carry out inspections and maintenance works on their pump drainage systems, and regularly clear the drains and vertical drain gratings within their premises, PUB said.
NEA will also increase the frequency of their checks and cleaning of public drains and Drop-Inlet Chambers in flood-prone areas and hot spots, it added.
On top of these measures, PUB also carries out 24-hour flood monitoring through a network of 278 closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras and 219 water level sensors installed in the major drains and canals.
Over the past year, PUB has also started to use radars, which provide advance warning of rainfall patterns, so its response vehicles can be deployed to areas where floods may potentially occur.
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