A new way known as the polder development method in land reclamation will be used for Singapore so as to reduce our reliance on sand. The test bed will be on the northwest apex of Pulau Tekong.
This method involves making a polder which is a low-lying plot of land taken from the sea. A wall is then built to disallow seawater from getting into the polder. The water level in the polder is managed by pipes and drains.
Since 2007, Singapore has been buying 90% of its land sand requirement from Indonesia which constituted 6 to 8 million tonnes. Indonesia has already banned the export of such sand to Singapore. We thus have to source for more sand from other countries and this led to higher construction cost.
With this new method, construction costs will be lower and the amount of sand used will be greatly reduced. It also helps us to enhance our capabilities. National Development Lawrence Wong said that along with the climate changes, comes the rising sea levels, and this would have a great impact on low-lying Singapore. The sooner we learn how to build dikes and learn to control our coastal areas, the earlier we will be able to deal with the change in climate next time.
The polder development method will have the Housing Development Board (HDB) draw experience from the Dutch. The Dutch has been using this method for a long time and they have the highest safety standards of building dikes worldwide.
Tender will be called by end of this year, 2016 for the polder project and works are targeted to begin by end 2017. The reclamation of Pulau Tekong is set to complete in 2022 which will see an additional 810 hectares of land added to the existing island. This extra land about twice the size of Toa Payoh town will be utilised for military training. (reported in the news on 17/11/16)
This method brings new opportunity for land scarce Singapore. With this new skill, we not only reduce our reliance on land sand, we also reduce our construction cost in the process. We can now go ahead and explore new areas for land reclamation to expand our land for various purposes, be it to build public housing (HDB Flats), new condo launch, cluster house, landed house or even a new port and runway.