More flood protection for some projects

SINGAPORE - More rooftop gardens and ponds could adorn buildings, including flats, condominiums and malls, in the future.

Besides aesthetics and their recreational use, such features will have the practical purpose of easing the flooding problem here.

From Jan 1 next year, new building projects will have to meet more stringent measures to prevent floods, national water agency PUB announced at a media briefing yesterday.

For instance, all industrial, institutional, commercial and residential projects with land sizes larger than 0.2ha - or about the size of Liat Towers or Tong Building in Orchard Road - will have to include features to slow down and retain rainwater. This may be in the form of detention tanks, retention ponds and rain gardens.

Redevelopment projects will also be affected by this requirement, which will take effect on June 1. However, a six-month grace period will be given. Existing buildings not undergoing redevelopment will not be affected.

PUB's director of catchment and waterways, Mr Tan Nguan Sen, said that Singapore is likely to have more rainfall in future, based on historical data and projections.

Thus, there is a need to look beyond the public-drainage infrastructure to reduce flood risks.

"PUB will deepen and widen drains, but there is a limit to this measure, given competing demands for land use," he said.

According to the Meteorological Service Singapore, the average monthly rainfall for 2011 was about 210.4mm. Last year, this figure was 180mm per month.

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