Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Watered Down Explanations

What a difference a week makes. The day after the Friday 23rd Dec floods, PUB insisted that "Based on our monitoring, Stamford Canal did not overflow." A new word was plucked from the English lexicon to explain the repeat of last year's disaster: PUB said "ponding" resulted in Liat Towers and Lucky Plaza being hit again.

One week later, we read that the "ponding" was traced to a drain that overflowed. The drain water could not be discharged into Stamford Canal as designed as it was "already full and could not take any more rainwater". So did the watery contents of Stamford Canal swirl into the drain or vice versa? Does the chicken come first or the the egg?

PUB also blames the pumping capacity of the affected buildings, without providing guidance on where the pumps should be discharging their liquid loads. Surely not into the Stamford Canal which was already at full capacity?

Meanwhile three wisemen have been appointed to look into the dumb guys in charge at PUB, a judge, a prisons director, and a professor from the School of Aerospace at Nanyang Technological University. Tan Siong Thye, Chief District Judge of the Subordinate Courts will probably lay down the law for incompetence, after which the prisons director presumably may have to haul the culprits into a nice comfy cell. The Aerospace expert will probably provide intellectual input on how 100 mm of rainwater (2010) and 152.8 mm (2011) could target the unlucky Lucky Plaza and Liat Towers with unerring GPS guided accuracy rivalling the success rate of state-of-the-art cruise missiles.


  1. Blind leading the blind !
    3 blind mice, see how they run ..

  2. Err.. the 'wisemen' suppose to look into train problem, not drain problem...

  3. The panel of experts brought in by Vivian Balakrishnan at taxpayers' expense is said to recommend a collector shoe, err..., no collection pond, to prevent ponding at Liat Towers.

    It would be nice to build one directly beneath the 35% president to keep him constantly aware of what is brewing.

  4. Maybe the aerospace expert can forecast our future rainfall trends, I can accept that. But why a Judge or Prisons director to look into what is essentially an engineering problem really puzzles me ? Are we having a problem with our justice & penalty system here or what ?

    The question of "Is it by chance that they happen to be part of the establishment that they are so appointed rather than their expertise" quickly comes to mind.

    What exactly has happened to all our drainage experts or flood specialists, cant' be trusted anymore ?

  5. http://www.mot.gov.sg/news/Appointment%20of%20COI%20-%20ANNEX%20A%20and%20B.pdf

  6. Hey. I thought the 3 wisemen appointed to look into train issues? No COI set up for "Ponding" yet! Langgar Tiang Dah!

  7. Oops sorry lah, I stand corrected.

  8. @Alan Wong;

    no problem with who were appointed.

    When 'experts' explain to laymen, laymen
    must also have the knowledge of the experts
    in order to understand them(the experts).

    Where to find laymen so knowledgeable with

    If we are as good, can we accept others
    calling us daft?


  9. It suddenly dawned on the clowns in PUB that their smoke can no longer hold the fire.

    Will they finally see light to pin-point the exact root cause of the problem?

  10. They don't seem to know the reasons behind the flooding? If this is the case, there will be flooding again when heavy rain comes and probably happening in more places in the future.

    Tell PUB Or Civil Defense To Order More Boats For Standby Or Maybe We Can All Buy Fishing Rod & Fishing Net To Catch Fish On 'Floody Days'

  11. The concern about the Barrage is a valid one since its purpose is to impound water which effectively raised the water level within the drainage area blocked by the barrage. You can visit the barrage and observe the difference in the water level inside the impoundment and the sea level, separated by the gates.
    A consistently higher water level in the impoundment also raises the general water level throughout the drainage system feeding the reservoir (Marina reservoir). This means that the water table throughout has also been raised. The extent to which the water level is raised may be different depending on factors such as gradient and elevation above sea level. But basically what happens is that a raised water table would effectively reduce the water absorption ability of the ground involved i.e. in a given area the ground would be able to absorb less run off when it rains due to the additional water already in the raised water table.
    IMO, there is also the question of inertia. Even if the flood gates at the barrage is opened in a heavy thunderstorm, it will still take time for the impounded water to flow out into the sea through the open gates. Looking at the size of the Marina reservoir impoundment plus the drainage system, one can imagined that it would take quite a while for the ‘excess’ water to flow out into the sea through the gates. When the rate of precipitation is markedly higher than usual, as was apparently the case according to the NEA, you can imagine why flooding has occurred in places which were not previously flood prone. In fact, one location in Macpherson which was reported to be flooded most recently was just several metres from a canal indicating that the flood was caused by either water overflowing the banks of the canal or the canal was so full that it had failed to drained away the precipitation in that area.
    When unusual flooding occurs it is usually multi-factorial in causes and manifesting itself when a tipping point is reach. Yes indeed. All relevant depts must come together to find a solution. Before that they must first of all understand the causes before they could even begin to consider implementing remedies..

  12. By reporting the rainfall in 3hrs, half hrs, etc, PUB seems to be trying to confuse the public. Surely it has the one hour data. Why try to hide?

    From PUB's own revised Code of Practice on Surface Water Drainage available at its website, to qualify for a one in 50 years rainfall, at least 120mm of rain is needed to fall in one hour. Please download that pdf document and look at the chart on page 47.

  13. Smart problem not resolved, stop gap, cable tie can hardly be considered as "tried and tested" method. Sigh, worry about safety issue in the long run.

    Flood problem hardly resolved by the 200k barriers. How can the solution be this simplistic, if so, any one can be pub chief or ministers Lioa.

    Yesterday, DNA testing error by HSA!

    Everything simply to be solved by setting up committee or engaging foreign experts. This give me the creeps. As it seems that they are set up to cover up the faults rather than solving it. Sad.

    What has happened to our beloved country ?

    All solutions seems to be forming a committtee or engaging foreign expert !?

    Sometimes, that give me creeps as I have a nagging feeling that they are formed more to cover out the faults.

    Wonder if something can be done before 2016.

  14. Yah! Agreed. It seems that to do a good job, one needs a committee or task force. Why then we are paying so much for the top guns in these departments? Just because they are scholars? What a crap! One thing that worries me is the way such reports are handled. The minister salary report was submitted but the content is only reviewed to PAP ministers and MPs. What about other MPs? Is the review meant for PAP only? Seems odd.

  15. PUB is desperately trying to fool the public by providing half truths on historical rainfall data. PUB should tell us the hourly rainfall for the month of December during the past 50 years.

    Stop treating us like morons, please!!

  16. A Great Ponding Shot for the New Year 2012.