Home » Uncategorized » The Flood: Did PUB pull wool over the eyes of ST commentary writer about Cuscaden Rd?

The Flood: Did PUB pull wool over the eyes of ST commentary writer about Cuscaden Rd?

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In her commentary piece of 13 Jun 2011, headed, “ Plumb depths of floods for good solutions”, Tan Dawn Wei quoted the PUB as having told her that (quote)   “ Cuscaden also sits on a higher plane, so water should be flowing down to Orchard Road instead, it added.” (end quote).

That got me rather curious since I have been ‘groping’ and poking around with the help of Google Earth because of the recent spates of floods be-devilling our drainage system.  

So, with my trusty GE (i.e., Google Earth) I zeroed in on two of the latest sites that have been quite sensationally and badly ‘flashed’, namely, 

The St Regis Residences (SRR) which went ‘international’ when a UK newspaper featured a report of the flood, complete with photos, in which it was highlighted that some European-made (and expensive) cars, among them, an Aston Martin, Ferrari and Lamborghihi, got into the swim of things, so to speak, in the basement car park of one of the world’s apparently most expensive service apartments. Hardly, the sort of publicity that the SRR would need. The cars were pictured sitting in half-wheel height of flood water.  A Youtube clip described rather extravagantly that the cars were “submerged in torrential flood waters”. 

At Tanglin Mall, a stone’s throw away, shoppers and shop workers alike, received a fortuitous drenching from an equally impromptu ‘flash’ mini-waterfall. An ‘indoor rain’, said a description for a Youtube clip.   

Back to my purpose.

This is what I found with Google Earth. (Refer to pic.) – that the elevation profile of Orchard Road at the junction of Orchard Road/Cuscaden Road is actually slightly HIGHER at between 31-32 m elevation compared to a 30 m elevation of the first 60 metres stretch of Cuscaden Road. After this short entry stretch, this road actually dips DOWNWORD towards the St. Regis Residences! (Orchard Road should now be even higher since the PUB took action to lift it up after the flash floods made their first appearance about a year ago.) 

Pic 1. Orchard Road end of Cuscaden Road. Click on picture to enlarge it.

Interestingly, Cuscaden Road, AFTER this initial 60 metres stretch actually began to slope DOWNWARDS. In Pic 2 you can see that as Cuscaden Road reached what would be the front of the SRR (on the satellite pic it is still an empty 160 m x 100 m plot) the road is actually at its LOWEST point of 18 m above sea level.

From this lowest point, Cuscaden Road begins to move upwards going towards the Trader’s Hotel. There is therefore a height difference of some 13 metres between Orchard Road (at 31-32 m above sea level) and the stretch of Cuscaden Road fronting the SRR (at 18 m above sea level)! This is absolutely the opposite of  the picture conveyed by the PUB to the ST writer.

Pic 2. The St Regis Residences is built on a plot that is at the lowest part of Cuscaden Road- at 18 metres above sea level it is some 13 metres below the Orchard Road level (at 31-32 metres above sea level). Click on picture to enlarge it.

Now, the just over 400 metres stretch of Cuscaden Road which forms the ‘basin’ (with the SRR at its lowest point) made up about 70% of the entire length of the road from end to end. Therefore, I do not understand the basis for the PUB’s claim that “ Cuscaden also sits on a higher plane, so water should be flowing down to Orchard Road instead, it added.”. 

In fact, given the measurements revealed through Google Earth*, it would appear that during the recent downpour there would have been a likelihood that runoffs from both the Orchard Rd side and the Trader’s Hotel side of Cuscaden Road, as well as the surrounding bowl-shaped higher ground, would have flowed down towards the ST Regis Residence to flood its basement car park where those expensive cars were parked! Refer to Pic below.   

The bowl shape terrain that the St Regis Residences is situated in. Click on picture to enlarge it.

*As my measurements were made using Google Earth, and the satellite pictures are admittedly dated somewhat, there exists the possibility of there being some differences compared to the actual measurement now at ground zero. However, the variation logically cannot be significantly different unless Cascaden Road had indeed undergone a major uplifting of its road surface, for instance, to coincide with construction of the SRR and its sister estab., the St Regis Hotel. I do not know whether such works was ever undertaken, but going purely by the Google Earth pictures and the measurements made and the fact that the St Regis Residences did indeed suffer a flooding of its basement car park, it is evident enough that Cascaden Road IS NOT  situated on a “higher plane” as claimed by the PUB. If fact, it is quite the opposite.

The question is, why this misinformation by the PUB?


NB. Tanglin Mall would be discussed in a subsequent blog.



  1. […] Great Singapore Floods – Thetwophilo’s Blog: The Flood: Did PUB pulled wool over the eyes of ST commentary writer about Cuscaden Rd? [Thanks yl] – Today Voices: Flooding and heritage – there’s a […]

  2. cato says:

    Water finds its own level… The rain covered the entire Orchard area…if SRR is flooded… its obvious that its the lowest point… I learnt that it primary school. I wish they just concentrate on finding a solution to drain the water fast enough so it doesn’t flood. Raising roads just shifts the water somewhere else…

    • thetwophilo says:


      I think the problem is that the various govt agencies concerned have painted themselves into their respective own corners – meaning they have not been in full consultation with one another when doing their projects. The main culprit looks like the URA. The others: PUB, LTA, NEA etc. Do they all come under a single ministry – the MND? Who coordinates them?

      One shouldn’t be too surprised that there would exist inter-agency rivalries. Bosses of the agencies have personalities that make them clashed or disliked each other. I have heard for example that even among the Permanent Secretaries of the ministries there are differences. Whether that gets in the way is anybody’s speculation.

      I am not sure even the Head of the Civil Service is able to get them to cooperate fully sometimes. So no choice, the public has to double up as the watchdogs, like what we are trying to do. We are of course hampered by issues like what Alex of Yawning Bread has mentioned – that of freedom of information. The govt of this republic is perhaps one of the most secretive around – more third world than first in this respect.

  3. xtrocious says:

    Typical stat board sort of taichi then…

    It’s not me or my fault mentality at work here…

  4. Eva says:

    Impressive research that explained what happened. PUB still have their heads in the sand (rather water) and their answer to the problem is still to have more sensors!

  5. Alan Wong says:

    Maybe someone should do a detailed study to analyse the amount of development charges the Govt collected according to development zones and the actual amount they actually spent on public drainage upgrading.

    Maybe our Ministers were too pre-occupied with their priority on raising their salaries and bonuses instead of road levels.

    Or maybe our Govt officials became too complacent and prefer to spend extra time & extra bonuses on cooking courses in Paris rather than thinking ahead of solving our day-to-day problems.

    Or maybe ……

  6. grumpy says:

    aiyah…PUB thought all singaporean r stupid…anyhow give excuses thought people will believe…sighhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  7. Kojakbt says:

    Bro, excellent analysis. Can I get your permission to publish your article on other sites? 🙂

  8. […] the entire blog entry: HERE — Be part of the community! Join our Facebook […]

  9. Bobby says:

    The CEO of PUB should be man enough to resign as a matter of his prsonal integrity.

    The Minister V. Bala. should also quit. We pay obscene salaries not for this type of performance from PUB or the Minister.

  10. […] Read the entire blog entry: HERE […]

  11. Kojakbt says:

    Hey thetwophilo, your article has been published on TR:


    Some of the readers appreciate your efforts to write this:

    silenceIsGolden: “Great work pals,Thetwophilo, for enlightening us about the untruth of the PUB. Without alternate news like TRE, we are always kept in the dark as the establishment always get away with lies and treat Singaporeans like stupid pigs. We get cheated again and again. Yet we praise them as honest people with integrity.”

    Concerned Citizen: “Great job, Thetwophillo. I have walked up and down Cuscaden Road while cutting through to Camden Medical Center. Any two year old would know how deep or steep that slope is. What else is new?”

    i love my country: “Simple, PUB is not as good technically as our writer here, or just plain lazy and making up excuses! Very good analysis”

    Solid lah: “Solid lah, well done, well done.”

    I BEG YOU ON MY BENDED KNEES DON’T VOTE FOR TONY TAN: “Woh woh woh ! I am impressed.No,very impressed. This is what citizen journalism can do eh? Gone are the days just because PAP controlled the mass media we have to swallow their shit hook line and sinkers. Today all politicians are put on scrutiny on real time. This dawn of new era is an interesting time.PAP lies people exposes.Majullah Singapura.”

    neutralparty: “wa good research man… better than their top engineer.”

    SINFULLEE: “Well done! Can you take over Vivian’s job?”

    Keep up the good work, bro!

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