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.)
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.
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.
*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.