SINGAPORE: Singapore’s national water agency PUB has started work on a new coastal-inland flood model, which will enable it to better assess the impact of climate change on Singapore’s coastal areas.
The model, which is capable of simulating and evaluating both inland and coastal flood risks, will be developed “based on Singapore’s densely built-up and urbanised environment”, PUB said on Friday (Apr 9).
It will also “enable holistic flood risk assessment by estimating the combined effects of extreme sea levels and inland floods caused by intense rainfall”.
It will consist of two independent models – a coastal model and an inland model – which can run separately or together to carry out flood risk analysis for different scenarios.
The coastal model will be equipped to simulate potential changes in nearshore waves and storm surge activities within the region under different climate change scenarios. Meanwhile, the inland model will be capable of simulating urban flooding caused by different sources, including heavy rainfall, and their interactions with sea levels.
PUB added that advanced modelling techniques will also be used to enhance accuracy and speed in simulating rainfall-induced flows within Singapore’s water catchments.
“The model will aid PUB in the planning of coastal adaptation measures, to evaluate the effectiveness of proposed coastal protection infrastructure, as well as for operations management,” the agency said.
“In the near term, the model will also be able to support the upcoming site-specific studies, starting with the City-East Coast and Jurong island.”
A study completed in 2019 had identified the City-East Coast and Jurong Island coastlines to be more vulnerable and critical based on factors such as the potential impact of a flood event, given critical assets there such as airports and economic districts.
The model will be developed by a consortium led by the National University of Singapore (NUS), with management solutions provider Hydroinformatics Institute (H2i) – which has previously worked with PUB on its rainfall monitoring and predicting system – as a partner.
Development will take about four years, PUB said, adding that it will be “continually updated and improved along with new climate data and developments in climate science”.
Philip Liu, Distinguished Professor in the NUS Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will lead the project team.
“In anticipating continued climate changes, the development of a Coastal-Inland Flood Model is timely and will help to safeguard both our coastlines and our collective future against severe weather and rising sea levels,” said Prof Liu, who is internationally recognised for his work on coastal engineering and wave modelling.
He has been instrumental in developing tsunami and coastal disaster resilience technology in Taiwan and the South China Sea region.
PUB will also work closely with the teams from NUS and H2i during the entire project duration to share their experience with existing modelling systems, it added.
“This will also allow PUB to build new expertise in-house to develop, test and validate coastal protection technologies and concepts,” the agency said. “When completed, PUB will be equipped to operate the model and make future enhancements to it when needed.”
Ms Hazel Khoo, director of PUB’s Coastal Protection Department said it aims to “enhance capabilities and deepen our expertise in modelling to support coastal protection efforts from now and into the future” through the project.
“Given the uncertainties in climate science, protecting our coastlines will always be a work-in-progress, but we aim to stay ahead of the curve,” she said.