Panel of experts to review Singapore's drainage design, flood measures

Esther Ng Today Online 1 Jul 11;

SINGAPORE - Their appointments were announced yesterday and their work - to review drainage design and flood protection measures - will begin next Friday, when the panel of local and foreign experts meet Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.

Chaired by National University of Singapore's engineering dean Chan Eng Soon, the panel's priorities will entail a "detailed look" at the current drainage infrastructure, topography of flood prone areas and potential new technological solutions.

"We'll cover a whole range of issues from rainfall to surface run-off to drainage design," Professor Chan told MediaCorp.

"We'll also be looking at mitigation measures and constraint factors. The panel will rationalise over these matters and issue an advisory which we think would be appropriate."

"For now, it is 'premature' to talk about mitigation measures."

"I'm sure the panel members have different ideas, so we need to deliberate on these issues with rigour," he said and added that, with time, the panel will look at inputs from the public.

The panel appointed by the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) comprise of academics, private sector engineers, climate change experts and civil servants. Prof Chan said: "What they'll bring to the panel is their broad knowledge and individual experience."

For instance, Professor Lui Pao Chuen, adviser to the National Research Foundation and Chief Defence Scientist for 22 years, is used to looking at complex systems, while urban flood specialist Adri Verwey is one of the pioneers in flood modelling software and has worked in places such as Hong Kong, said Prof Chan.

The panel also includes Professor Toshio Koike from the Department of Civil Engineering, University of Tokyo and Mr Kan Yim-fai, chief Engineer of the Land Drainage Division, Hong Kong's Drainage Services Department.

The review is expected to take six months. Apart from the 11 panel members named yesterday, the MEWR is awaiting confirmation from a few other experts.

Meanwhile, recommendations from the Inter-Agency Drainage Review Committee formed last August is now up on the Public Utilities Board (PUB)'s website. These include enhancing drainage design standards to cope with more intense rain, requiring new developments to comply with higher crest levels and requiring building managers to enhance flood protection measures.

The public can email their comments to ESTHER NG

Chairperson: Prof Chan Eng Soon, Dean, Faculty of Engineering, National University of Singapore
Mr Kan Yim-fai, chief engineer, Land Drainage Division, Hong Kong’s Drainage Services Department
Prof Toshio Koike, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Tokyo
Dr Les Lampe, vice-president, Black and Veatch
Mr Lim Keng Kuok, senior consultant, CPG Consultants
Lim Peng Hong, president, Association of Consulting Engineers Singapore
Prof Lui Pao Chen, adviser, National Research Foundation
Mr Laurens van der Tak, vice-president, CH2M HILL
Associate Prof Tan Soon Keat, School of Civil and Environment Engineering, Nanyang Technological University
Dr Adri Verwey, senior urban flooding specialist, Deltares/SDWA
Prof Yong Kwet Yew, Civil Engineering Department, and vice-president, NUS

Expert panel to review drainage system
Feng Zengkun Straits Times 1 Jul 11;

ELEVEN experts, including five from overseas, have been tapped to review Singapore's drainage system and flood-prevention measures and come up with new ideas.

They will examine the landscape of flood-prone areas islandwide, current and future building plans, as well as local weather patterns.

The review, expected to be completed in six months, will be submitted to Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan.

The panel will be headed by Professor Chan Eng Soon, 56, dean of engineering at the National University of Singapore.

The experts were selected based on recommendations from industry professionals and academics.

The overseas experts are: Mr Kan Yim-fai, chief engineer at Hong Kong's drainage services department; civil engineering professor Toshio Koike from Tokyo University; Dr Les Lampe, vice-president of Black and Veatch, a US-based global water company; Netherlands-based urban flooding specialist Dr Adri Verwey; and Mr Laurens van der Tak, vice-president of CH2M HILL, an industry leader in water reuse.

The Straits Times understands that the Japan and Hong Kong experts were picked because these places have highly urbanised settings similar to Singapore's.

The 11 will meet Dr Balakrishnan next Friday to work out the details of their review. The ministry said more experts may be added to the panel, which will also look at the recommendations of an inter-governmental agency drainage review committee set up after last year's Orchard Road flood.

The recommendations include improving drainage design standards and requiring new buildings to have higher platforms.

These will be published today on national water agency PUB's website and the public can give feedback via e-mail at

Prof Chan said the increased number of experts this time round reflects the larger scope of the work. He noted that the new panel has a wider mix of people with practical experience as well as academic theory.

Mr Steven Goh, executive director of the Orchard Road Business Association, noted that 'the businessmen on the ground' are not represented in the new panel.

'We hope that the expert panel will consider reaching out to us and hearing some of our views,' he said.

Flood experts appointed
Channel NewsAsia 30 Jun 11;

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) has appointed an expert panel to review the drainage design and flood protection measures that will be implemented in Singapore over the next decade.

The panel, consisting of local and overseas experts, will be chaired by Professor Chan Eng Soon, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the National University of Singapore.

The members of the panel were drawn from academia, professional bodies, private and public sectors. Their fields of expertise include civil and hydraulic engineering, flood control and climate science.

The terms of reference for the expert panel include an assessment of the current drainage infrastructure, assumptions and parameters for modelling, topography of flood prone areas, projected weather patterns, current and future building plans, information systems, and potential new technological solutions.

The review is expected to be completed in six months.

- CNA/ir