Rooftop gardens could solve Singapore's flooding problem

In the last two years, rapid urbanization and changing weather patterns have lead to major flash floods in Singapore. Requiring rooftop gardens on buildings could help solve the problem.

In the last two years, rapid urbanization and changing weather patterns have lead to major flash floods in Singapore.

"[It] can be safely presumed that the weather patterns in Singapore have changed," said Singapore's Minister for the Environment and Water Resources last year after a flash flood where in one day Singapore received 77 percent of the amount of rainfall that usually falls in June. "It is very likely that our drainage systems will have to be redesigned to cope with such intense flashes."

Singapore convened a panel to come up with the best options for dealing with flash floods and stormwater runoff. Their suggestion? Not an overhaul of the drainage system, but rooftop gardens.

Big infrastructure projects are costly and take time to replace. And while the upgrading the drainage system is likely necessary, the panel suggests a quick fix to Singapore: require rooftop gardens on all new and retrofitted buildings. Rooftop gardens don't just add beauty to the city, they can also play a big role in mitigating floods by reducing and slowing stormwater runoff and filtering pollutants.

But it's not just rooftop gardens, Singapore's Today reports:

These measures are to be complemented with diversion canals, storage tanks along "pathways" of drains, drain capacity improvements, and finally, flood barriers, raised platform levels - some of which is already being done, but "could be carried further", noted Prof Balmforth.

The panel also suggested storage tanks, rain gardens, and porous pavement.

Photo: HenryLeongHimWoh/Flickr

Urbanisation has led to increase in storm water run-off: Expert panel [Today]

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com