Connecting Delta Cities


Singapore: Climate change adaptation

Climate change adaptation

The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change (IMCCC) enhances Whole-of-Government coordination on climate change policies to ensure that Singapore is prepared for the impacts of climate change. Established in 2007, IMCCC is chaired by Mr Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister, Co-ordinating Minister for National Security, and Minister for Home Affairs. IMCCC oversees the work on stabilising Singapore's long term emissions and developing plans to ensure the nation's adaptation to future environmental challenges. Under the IMCCC, Singapore's approach to climate change adaptation is jointly led by the Ministry of National Development and the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources.
Work has already started to enhance resilience against coastal erosion and inundation associated with rising sea levels coupled with weather variability. Water resources management is also a key priority. While many of the initiatives were not conceived solely with climate change in mind, they are integral to Singapore's sustainable development efforts. At the same time, they provide a good foundation for Singapore's efforts to address the impact of climate change. Below the climate change adaptation approach is exemplified by four initiatives relating to water. These programmes are carried out by PUB, Singapore's national water agency.

To ensure a sustainable water supply for Singapore's population and industry, PUB has built a robust and diversified water supply for Singapore through the four "national taps", namely, local catchment water, imported water, NEWater and desalinated water. NEWater is high-grade reclaimed water, produced from treated used water that is further purified using advanced membrane technologies, and ultra-violet disinfection, making it clean and safe to drink. In particular, NEWater and desalinated water are not dependent on rainfall and are thus more resilient against dry weather.

Recognising the impact of greater weather uncertainties as well as the constraints to drainage planning posed by increasing urbanisation, PUB has revamped its drainage management approach to strengthen Singapore's flood resilience. Under PUB's Code of Practice regulations, the minimum platform level for developments has been raised to provide additional safeguard against the longer term effects of higher sea level and rainfall intensity. In 2011, PUB also raised design standards for new drains to cater for more intense extreme rainfall events.

PUB's strategy is to optimise the management of stormwater using a holistic source-pathway-receptor approach. It covers the entire drainage system, addressing not just the pathway over which the rainwater travels (i.e. "Pathway" solutions such as drainage widening and deepening), but also controlling rainwater at where it falls onto the ground (i.e. "Source" solutions such as on-site detention) and at the areas where floods may occur (i.e. "Receptor" solutions such as specification of platform levels). With effect from June 2013, developers/owners of land size 0.2 hectares of more are required to implement measures, such as green roofs, rain gardens and detention tanks, to slow down surface runoff and reduce the peak flow of storm water into the public drainage system.

The ABC Waters Programme was launched in April 2006 to transform Singapore's water bodies beyond their utilitarian purpose into beautiful and clean streams, rivers and lakes, creating a vibrant City of Gardens and Water. Over 100 potential locations have been identified for implementation for the next 20 years.

Magazine "Resilient Cities and Climate Adaptation Strategies" CDC book volume 3 Available now. Download free of charge.