Singapore Takes Action to Protect $50 Billion in Real Estate from Rising Sea Levels
Singapore, a city-state situated on low-lying land, is facing the threat of rising sea levels due to climate change. With approximately one-third of the country located less than 16 feet above sea level, government officials are taking serious measures to protect over $50 billion worth of real estate.
Ho Chai Deck, a deputy director at government agency PUB, emphasized their commitment to safeguarding every inch of land. “We are not planning to lose any inch of land permanently,” he told Bloomberg. The government aims to build a continuous line of defense along the entire coast, recognizing the urgency and seriousness of the situation.
The iconic Marina Bay waterfront and Jurong Island, home to oil and petrochemical companies, are among the areas at risk of being impacted by rising sea levels. The potential consequences include the release of hazardous chemicals into the environment. Nanyang Technological University professor Benjamin Horton described Singapore as one of the most vulnerable countries to sea-level rise.
To combat this threat, Singapore has adopted a multipronged approach. The country has reclaimed land by piling up sand, utilized the Marina Barrage – a dam equipped with large pumps to drain excess water during heavy rainfall and high tides – and employed mangrove trees as natural buffers. These efforts have reportedly added more than 45 square miles of land while preparing for the future.
Additionally, Singapore is leveraging computer technology to predict areas at the highest risk of flooding. Collaborating with the Hydroinformatics Institute and National University of Singapore, the country is building a model to identify vulnerable areas, aiming to protect both real estate and human lives.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong acknowledged the gravity of the situation, stating, “Both the Singapore Armed Forces and climate change defenses are existential. These are life-and-death matters.” Singapore is dedicated to investing approximately $73 billion over the next century in coastal and flood protection. The country’s approach is comprehensive, combining various strategies and technologies to tackle the challenge.
JanJaap Brinkman, a director at water research institute Deltares and an advisor to Singapore, emphasized the country’s cautious approach. Singapore wants to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the technology before moving forward. They are committed to a step-by-step process, prioritizing the well-being of their people and the environment.
Singapore’s efforts to protect its real estate from rising sea levels serve as a model for other nations facing similar challenges. By taking proactive measures, investing in technology, and adopting a long-term vision, Singapore is demonstrating its commitment to addressing the impact of climate change on coastal regions.