Droughts are more frightening than floods, but no one seems to care

The article below has been submitted to us by Andy Tay.


It hasn’t rained for weeks. This is now on record, the driest February ever for the last 145 years. The colours around us have turned from green to brown. The “Garden City” is slowly turning into “Desert City”!

To illustrate the severity in our drought, here are before and after photos at Botanic Gardens which were shot recently.





*Photos courtesy of  Catherine Tan


When a flood happens, we lament and get annoyed when our feet get soaked, our transport system halts and everything slows to a standstill. We might be late for our appointments, get a free “bath” courtesy of the gods. Worse, thousands of dollars worth of Hermes bags go swimming away into the canals (remember the 2010 Orchard floods?).

This “tragedy” affects us maybe a few times a year and leaves us with a few days of inconvenience, cleaning up and a loss in tourist dollars.

A drought on the other hand is a little more painful.

Here are some factors we should consider!

1. Survival

Water is necessary for basic survival of a biological creature, plant or animal. Without water, science says you will only survive about 2-3 days before croaking. This is why it has been said (anecdotally), our military will almost certainly be deployed to war if the nation’s supply of water is threatened.

2. Changing Weather Patterns Globally

Its been a strange few months and with the global environment continuously evolving, can we be so sure of the continuous source of rain onto our limited lands? Global warming continues to be the talk of the town, but few countries have shown dedicated commitment in making a change.

3. Water Deal with Malaysia

This deal is will expire in 2061. But even before that, remember that if there is a drought, it’ll most probably affect Johor too. They will most certainly protect their citizens before ours. Should we continue to place our bets on this source at present? Would Malaysia continue to honour their agreement if their own states are facing drought?

With water technology such as New Water, we have become a little more self-reliant. Laugh at drinking our own recycled piss, but the recent droughts show that Singapore is now in a better position than our Malaysian counterparts. Even with New Water and other technologies, it is not enough – what will be the new water contracts then?

4. Concerns Over Present Alternative Sources of Water

NEWater & Desalination may be viable alternatives, but require higher energy needs. We too import most of our energy, so its a tough balancing act to follow. In addition, NEWater is essentially “recycled water” and requires a primary quantum source of water to be first available. 

5. Growing economics

The population of Singapore has been growing steadily with an expected target of 6.9 million by 2030. Some industries also have high demand on water supply. With increasing population comes increasing demand and if we can’t cope now and scale accordingly, what would happen by 2030?

So next time a flood comes, lets be more appreciative and embrace it. Heck, bring out the buckets and start collecting water too!







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