The Straits Times: PUB to install 162 CCTVs by year-end

The Straits Times reports that PUB plans to install 162 CCTVs by the end of the year. They will help track floods, vandalism and activities deemed as unsafe.

PUB to install 162 CCTVs by year-end

KEEPING an eye on Singapore’s waterways, reservoirs and recreational water spots will soon be easier for the authorities.

National water agency PUB plans to install 162 closed circuit television cameras (CCTVs) across the island by year-end to help it track floods, vandalism and unsafe activity.

The PUB has called for tenders for the project and wants to install the cameras by October.

Some of these cameras will be in known flood-prone areas such as Bukit Timah’s Sixth Avenue and Dunearn Road.

Others will be found in areas such as Marina Reservoir, which takes in rainwater from a sixth of Singapore’s land.

The reservoir will have nine cameras at various spots, including at Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and the Esplanade.

According to the tender document, the new CCTVs in the waterways will be paired with rain and flood sensors to provide early warning and updates on the flood situation to the PUB.

“The CCTVs can also help the agency to monitor water quality in the outlet drains to reservoirs, by detecting signs of illegal discharge such as illegal chemicals,” said a PUB spokesman.

All of the cameras will be able to provide both day and night views, and the spokesman added that footage from some of the new cameras could be made available to the public.

Currently, images from cameras at 24 locations islandwide can be found on the PUB’s website. These include flood-prone and critical areas such as Orchard Road and Shenton Way.

The new project is part of the agency’s ongoing plan to combat floods and ensure the safety of reservoir waters.

The agency currently has 66 such cameras installed in various flood-prone areas and hot spots. It also taps the Land Transport Authority’s cameras.

In January, the agency conducted a trial with the installation of four CCTVs at the floating deck and fishing jetty in Bedok Reservoir to watch for unsafe acts and vandalism.

Since 2004, the PUB has opened up most of the reservoirs for recreational activities such as kayaking, canoeing, dragon boating and fishing, raising the need for surveillance. According to the tender document, the agency’s officers will be able to access footage from the new cameras via the Internet on their computers, smartphones or tablets.

If the rain intensity during storms in certain areas could lead to floods, or if there are floods, footage from the relevant cameras could automatically pop up on a video wall in the PUB’s operations centre at the Environment Building in Scotts Road.

This centre is manned by officers around the clock.

Mr Eugene Heng, founder and chairman of the Waterways Watch Society which monitors and promotes water bodies, supports the project, saying: “It will help with the agency’s enforcement duties, for example, to prevent littering.”

But he added that officers with access to the footage should respect people’s privacy. “It would be problematic if they spied on people or posted embarrassing images on social media sites.”

Mr Charles Chong, a member of the Government Parliamentary Committee for National Development and the Environment, said the presence of the cameras could deter people from anti-social acts such as vandalism.

“Footage from the cameras could also be used after such acts as evidence, if necessary,” he said. According to the tender document, the contractor must provide enough data storage capacity to hold one month’s worth of footage.

The new cameras are expected to be weather-proof and powered by solar energy. They will also be checked at least once a week. The PUB said in the tender document that it may install more cameras in future.

Image from charbel.akhras

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