Seasonal high tides flood Pulau Ubin, stretches along East Coast Park over the weekend, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Seasonal high tides flood Pulau Ubin, stretches along East Coast Park over the weekend

Seasonal high tides led to flooding in some low-lying areas in Pulau Ubin and along East Coast Park over the weekend.

On Jan 13, the water level was ankle-deep around noon in some of the low-lying areas in the southern coast of Pulau Ubin, such as the space outside the popular Ah Ma Drink Stall near Jalan Jelutong.

This was due to an unusually high tide that reached 3.3m.

Madam Lai Huat So, 82, who has been manning the drink stall for almost 30 years, said flooding is a common occurrence. In the past, customers could not enter her stall as seawater would be knee-deep during high tide.

But her stall has been spared the damaging effects of rising tides since 2018. That was when a group of architecture undergraduates from the National University of Singapore reconstructed it and elevated the timber floors as part of a community-led restoration initiative. Known as Revitalising Ubin As Living Kampung, the project was funded by the National Parks Board (NParks).

Many others, however, did not benefit from the scheme.

Among them are Madam Ng Ngak Heng, 73, and her 77-year-old husband. They run provision store Yak Hong, which is near the jetty.

“When it floods, it takes me at least an hour to clear the water that enters my store. Flooding is even worse when it rains,” said Madam Ng, who has been living in Pulau Ubin for 48 years with her husband.

She said that while other stalls in the area were able to cement and raise their floors to avoid overflow, the same could not be done for her stall due to its existing doors and pillars, which would have to be removed in order to raise the flooring.

According to Madam Ng, NParks had over the past two years improved the drainage system on the island to reduce the severity of flooding. But even though the damaging effects have lessened, flooding still cannot be avoided.

Typically, flooding happens in Singapore in January and February due to seasonal spring tides. When combined with heavy rainfall, seawater can rush inland and submerge low-lying areas.

The highest tide recorded in the Republic was 3.9m on Feb 9, 1974. Seawater 1m high covered large areas of the island. Nicoll Drive, which runs along the Changi Beach coastline, was reportedly under 1.5m of water.

Seasonal high tides have also flooded several low-lying coastal areas along East Coast Park.

Checks by The Straits Times found that a high tide of 3.2m flooded the canals along East Coast Park in the late morning of Jan 12. Some water overflowed to the nearby grass patches.

Similarly, flooding took place at Singapore’s southern coast in January and February in 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019 and 2023, when the tide recorded was 3.4m, according to the National Environment Agency (NEA).

  • Additional reporting by Lim Yaohui