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Our Water Heroes: Ng Rui Qiang

4 October 2018

Our Water Heroes: Ng Rui Qiang


As a Civil Engineering graduate, Ng Rui Qiang always had an interest in buildings and structures. To Rui Qiang, cities are “just like the human body, where utility services are the veins and arteries and buildings are the muscles and bones.”

Rui Qiang was part of the team involved in the construction of the Stamford Diversion Canal (SDC) and Stamford Detention Tank (SDT). These major drainage projects are examples of how PUB look for practical solutions to solve our drainage problems.

Unlike typical drainage construction projects, the SDC cannot be constructed using conventional method of cut and cover as it is sited in a densely built-up area. It was also not feasible to divert the roads and utility services for the construction due to the space constraint. To solve this problem, a tunnel boring machine was used to construct a pair of 1km long shallow tunnels that weave underground while maintaining free-flowing traffic on the roads above.

SDC Tunnelling  

Tunnel Boring Machine


Engineers inside the Tunnel Boring Machine preparing to install tunnel segments

The SDC tunnels are one of the shallowest large diameter tunnels in Singapore, with some areas a mere four metres underground. Constructing such shallow tunnels meant that engineers such as Rui Qiang and site supervision staff had to keep close monitoring of the work to ensure the tunnel parameters are maintained while tunnelling works proceed 24/7. 

“Technology enabled us to monitor live readings of the tunnelling parameters closely through any internet device. This allow us to be aware of potential dangers and resolve any issues that may arise quickly,” shared Rui Qiang.


Rui Qiang and engineer inspecting ongoing works inside the Stamford Diversion Canal

Minister Masagos  

Rui Qiang and engineer inspecting ongoing works inside the Stamford Diversion Canal

With the completion of the SDC, excess stormwater can be diverted to the Singapore River and away from the existing Stamford Canal along Orchard Road. This enhances flood protection in the Orchard Road Area.

Rui Qiang shares that the greatest takeaway from this project was knowing that “every time we experience intense rain in the Orchard area, we know that the SDC and SDT are working to keep flooding at bay.”

By Jaslynn Yeo