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PUB to spend $500 million to upgrade drainage network

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National water agency to spend another $500 million to upgrade drainage network

To keep floods at bay as Singapore is lashed by increasingly intense storms, the country is pumping another $500 million into a massive upgrade of its drainage network.

National water agency PUB said yesterday that the money will be channelled into ongoing projects at 75 spots islandwide, as well as 16 new locations, to make monsoon drains and canals bigger, and fortify older structures, for instance.

Said Mr Ridzuan Ismail, PUB's director of catchment and waterways: "With climate change, we expect more intense storms to occur more frequently in Singapore. PUB will continue to implement 'pathway' (the passage that rainwater takes) measures by deepening and widening drains."

The sum, which will be spent over the next two to three years, adds to the $1.2 billion the Government has already spent on drainage improvement works since 2011.

Meteorological Service Singapore statistics show that the annual maximum hourly rainfall rose to 90mm last year, from about 80mm in 1980.

There have been floods on 14 days this year, compared with 10 last year, and six in 2015.

The figure has, however, dropped from 36 in 2013.

Drains in flood-prone areas or those nearing the end of their lifespan will be given priority in upgrading.

Next year, they will be improved in areas such as Thomson Road and Sennett Estate.

The 3.2km Bukit Timah First Diversion Canal will be expanded by the end of next year at a cost of $280 million.

It will be able to take in 30 per cent more rainwater.

This will protect buildings in the catchment area, such as Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Beauty World Plaza, Bukit Timah Shopping Centre and Sime Darby Centre, from floods.

The project, initially expected to be ready by last year, has been delayed by the difficult terrain, said PUB.

Expansion works are also ongoing at Sungei Pandan Kechil, Bedok Canal and Kallang River.

Drain works at the 75 locations are expected to be completed over the next two to three years, adding to the upgrading of drains and canals at 325 locations since 2012.