National Water Agency PUB kicked off the first of its series of community engagement sessions today on enhancing flood resilience in the face of climate change, specifically on how Singapore can protect its coastline along City-East Coast from the threat of rising seas while preserving liveable spaces for all. Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Ms Grace Fu and speaker of parliament Mr Tan Chuan-Jin joined about 80 participants at the session, where many shared a common desire to protect our cherished coastal areas and enhance our community spaces with innovative design and solutions.
PUB’s Our Coastal Conversation dialogue sessions are part of the public engagement efforts for environmental sustainability under the Forward Singapore Steward Pillarearlier launched by the Ministry for Sustainability and the Environment. The second session will be held on 28 October, hosted by Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Dr Koh Poh Koon and Senior Minister of State for National Development Mr Tan Kiat How.
Through the dialogue sessions, PUB seeks to engage widely with the community and diverse interest groups to forge a better understanding of the considerations and trade-offs when tackling the challenge of more intense rainfall which could cause more frequent inland flooding, sea level rise that could inundate our coastal and low-lying areas, as well as developing the range of possible solutions that can be considered for coastal protection.
In her opening remarks, Minister Grace Fu said, “Climate action requires change. It involves trade-offs. Some trade-offs will be difficult. Can we, as individuals, reduce our personal carbon footprint? Can we use less of Earth’s resources, recycle more, and generate less waste to protect our common environment? Would we pay more for energy, water and food security so that we are able to withstand future supply shocks better?
“These are just some of the questions that we must ask ourselves, to chart our
new way forward together and ensure a liveable and climate-resilient future for
Singapore. We are all stewards of our environment and our planet. We have a collective responsibility to ensure that this country that we call home can continue to survive and thrive for decades to come for our children and grandchildren.”
Mr Goh Si Hou, chief executive of PUB, said, “As we embark on this multi-year
journey to develop coastal defences to protect Singapore from the impact of sea level
rise, we want to seek views from a broad spectrum of stakeholders to help shape the
future of Singapore’s shores. Beyond coastal protection, we see this as a unique
opportunity to reimagine our coastline and co-create multi-functional spaces to value
add to our community.”
“We are encouraged by the strong interest and response from the community
for our first dialogue session, and the richness of today’s discussion. There was a good
mix of participants and insightful perspectives from nature groups, professional
associations, business representatives, community leaders, residents, and students.
We will continue with these conversations through various formats to seek ideas and
inputs as we develop the site-specific plans.”
Phased approach towards developing coastal protection measures
Based on current projections1, mean sea levels in Singapore are expected to rise by up to 1 metre by 2100 due to climate change. As a low-lying city surrounded by the sea, with about 30 per cent of the island less than 5 metres above sea level, Singapore is particularly vulnerable to the effects of sea level rise.
Given Singapore’s densely built-up environment, it is important to consider the twin impact of sea level rise and more intense rainfall due to climate change in our flood resilience strategy. As the national Coastal Protection Agency2, PUB will lead and coordinate whole-of-nation efforts to protect Singapore from the threat of coastal and inland flood risks.
Different stretches of our coastline house important landmarks, parks, beaches, and natural habitats. Given the varied land use, PUB will carry out site-specific studies progressively across different segments of the coastline. Stretching over 57km, the City-East Coast covers three areas – Changi, East-Coast Marina and part of the Greater Southern Waterfront district. The site-specific study for City-East Coast, a low-lying region which had earlier been identified to be more vulnerable and critical, commenced in May 2021 and is expected to complete in 2025.
PUB will continue to engage and partner various stakeholders in this multi-year effort. As part of PUB’s efforts to increase public awareness on coastal protection, it has commissioned a Channel NewsAsia (CNA) documentary, “Stem the Tide”, in which various experts and government agencies share insights on the threat posed by sea level rise to Singapore and what we can collectively do to tackle this challenge. The documentary aired its first run on CNA on 14 October 2022. The public can catch reruns on Channels 5, 8, Suria and Vasantham. The full documentary is also available on PUB’s YouTube channel.