SINGAPORE: Recent flooding incidents here show the importance of planning for climate change, said Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu on Monday (Apr 19).
"The recent floodings have shown the effects of climate change in Singapore. We are getting a lot more intense rainfall, one of the highest in the last 40 years," said Ms Fu.
This shows that it is necessary to plan for climate change and ways to mitigate its effects, she added, noting that tackling the issue requires understanding the "twin challenges" of both inland flooding and sea level rise.
Singapore has already been witnessing weather pattern changes, and moving forward, can expect to see even more such changes as a result of climate change, she said.
Ms Fu was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a visit to a worksite for the second phase of the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System (DTSS).
Her comments come after heavy rain across the island resulted in flash floods on Saturday (Apr 17). PUB issued flood risk warnings for more than 20 locations including the Bukit Timah and Ulu Pandan canals as well as Sungei Pandan Kechil.
The national water agency noted then that western Singapore recorded the heaviest rainfall of 161.4mm between 12.25pm and 3.25pm, or about 91 per cent of Singapore's average monthly rainfall in April.
It said this was in the top 0.5 per cent of maximum daily rainfall records since 1981.
Heavy rains also resulted in flash floods in parts of Singapore last month.
PUB has already spent about S$2 billion over the last decade on improving Singapore's drainage system as part of flood mitigation measures, and will spend almost S$1.4 billion more on such efforts over the next five years, said Ms Fu on Monday.
There are 37 such projects now, with another 10 to be added this year, she said, noting that this points to Singapore's determination to improve its water infrastructure and become more resilient to the impact of climate change.
Infrastructure such as the DTSS - which will collect and transport water from the whole of Singapore to three water reclamation plants in Changi, Kranji and Tuas - help in enhancing the country's resilience in this regard as it will allow water to be reused multiple times, she said.
"So this investment is really to help us to improve the resilience of our water infrastructure," she said.