Dutch polders are coming to Singapore
To tackle rising sea levels and decreasing land availability, Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong announced in the annual National Day Rally speech that the construction of more polders is a serious option. Singapore is currently constructing its first polder at the north-western tip of Pulau Tekong island, using Dutch knowhow.
Sea level rise
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made his National Day Rally speech on August 18th, and discussed the challenges facing Singapore, such as a slowing economy, trade tensions between the United States and China, and climate change.
PM Lee spoke about sea level rise being a certainty. The only uncertainty is whether the rise will manifest a few decades earlier than is now predicted. “We have to defend ourselves and polders are a serious option. We have looked at other countries for inspiration. In particular, we studied the Netherlands”, Lee said.
Two for one
Singapore is seriously studying the option to construct a sea wall for the eastern coastline. “Building the sea wall further out, will not only protect existing low-lying areas but we extend out and create more land reclaimed from the sea which we can use for housing and other valuable purpose”.
Another option is the construction of a series of islands offshore and connect them up with barrages. “This would create a freshwater reservoir, which will be similar to Marina Reservoir”, PM Lee said. “This solution will make PUB water utility very happy because it will provide us with another big reservoir and it will enhance our water resilience.”
First polder under construction
PM Lee mentioned that Singapore is currently constructing a small polder to gain experience. The initial feasibility studies have been conducted by research institute Deltares. The polder has been designed by consultancy firm Royal HaskoningDHV and dredging company Boskalis is involved in the construction.
Singapore’s first polder at Pulau Tekong is scheduled to be ready by 2022.
PM Lee said that Singapore will keep its climate adaptation plan flexible. “But we must start now and sustain the effort, as the Dutch have done over the centuries”, he said.
The protection against the rising sea level will cost Singapore probably 100 billion Singapore dollar over 100 years. “Because it is a 50-100-year problem, we can implement a 50 to 100-year solution. That way we can afford it, and when we need it, we will have it ready”.
Read the full text of the National Day Rally 2019.