Archive for September, 2013

Underground Singapore

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

“Singapore National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said the government is considering the possibility of developing a master plan for underground spaces.”

– CNA, 3rd September 2013

Minister Khaw Boon Wan elablorates further on his blog post: Exploiting Exciting Possibilities Underground

Here are some other things that I would like to see underground:

Underground Water Reservoir/Storage

Singapore current water supply is met by:

  • Reservoirs and drains (covers 2/3 of Singapore’s land surface)
  • NEWater 30% (Up to 55% by 2060)
  • Desalinated Water 10% (Up to 25% by 2060)
  • Imported from Malaysia (40% as of 2010. Our current agreement ends in 2061)
  • (information via PUB website)

It’s obvious that the Government is trying to eliminate the need to import water by 2060.

We could increase that supply and decrease flooding at the same time, by building underground water reservoirs for storage of excess rain water. Some countries build these reservoirs under existing open spaces like football fields. We have football fields in most towns and schools. These reservoirs can also be build under new roads.

Underground water reservoirs or storage tanks could be planned into new HDB estates. Rain water can be harvested for non-portable needs of the estate like flushing the toilets (separate pipes have to be built into households for this purpose), watering the plants in the neighbourhood, or washing the corridors. This would save money on water treatment, as none of these functions require purified water.

Furthermore, the water would get a 2nd lease of life:

  • When used to flush the toilets, the waste water would be channeled to NEWater plans, and retreated into clean water.
  • When used to water plants or wash corridors, excess water will eventually find its way back to our reservoirs (or underground reservoirs).

This is actually not a new concept in Singapore. Rain harvesting is already done in places like Changi Airport and Gardens by the Bay. Other blogs have also floated this idea before.

Underground Bicycle Storage

Japan has these underground bicycle parks installed around town.

Singapore could install similar devices near mrts and heartland malls. This would encourage more people to cycle, as they can ensure a secure place to keep the bicycles. Also, because you require an account to use this parking, it would reduce the incidents of bicycles being abandoned at existing bicycle lots.


Anything else built underground has to be done on a large scale basis, like shopping malls, communal places, train stations. An underground tunnel built for people and bicycles for example, would just turn out creepy and dangerous. Whereas a shopping mall with exits connecting to the mrt and existing blocks, would be just fine.

What to do during a water disruption

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Did you know that humans can only survive about 3-5 days without water?


Just last Sunday, it was reported in the Straits Times that water disruptions had to be made due to a oil spill in Selangor. There were long queues of people trying to buy bottled water, but they sold out pretty quickly.

About 2 months ago, a similar ‘frenzy’ situation happened in Singapore as well, but it involved N95 masks for the haze instead.

Most people are ill-prepared for situations like these. While we expect the Government to step in and provide for us, it doesn’t hurt to have our own contingency plans.

What do we do if there is a water disruption in Singapore? Here’s what it says in the SCDF Handbook:

13-08-04 Rationing

In the case of the KL incident, residents were giving less than 24 hours notice before the water was turned off. Water tankers were also driven out to the locations affected, and neighbouring states help truck up water too.

If advance notice is given, fill up any pails or pots. If you have a bathtub, fill it up with water as well, but do not drink the water in the tub as it might not be completely clean.

So just in case, stock up a box of 1.5L distilled water for future emergencies. It’s relatively inexpensive, and it could save your life!