Singapore picks Royal HaskoningDHV polder design for land addition

02 January 2017 3 min. read
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Singapore has picked out the design by Royal HaskoningDHV for the reclamation of 8.1 square kilometres of land, which will become part of its largest island, Pulau Tekong. The world involved a detailed study with a range of stakeholders, as well as close work with Singapore’s Housing & Development Board. The project is set to be completed by 2022.

Singapore, one of the world’s richest countries, is relatively strapped for land. The country consists of 63 islands, with land of around 723 square kilometres available for use. The country has, since the 1960s, grown its land from 581.5 square kilometres; and is planning to add an additional 100 square kilometres of land by 2033.

Reclaiming land can take a number of formats, including filling in areas with sand to raise them above water level, seen extensively in Dubai which has found itself hiring expertise to keep the relentless sea at bay, and building polders.

The art of polder building – which involves building dykes around waterways and then draining out the water – was begun in earnest in the Netherlands by entrepreneurial Dutch investors, seeking to create additional farming land in Beemster, North Holland, during the early 1600s. The success of the efforts, which saw an inland lake surrounded by a dyke before being drained, was soon repeated thousands of times across the country – with large tracts of land reclaimed for a variety of uses.

Singapore has traditionally opted for reclaiming land by filling in the sea with sand. The process brings with it considerable externalities, however, while also being relatively expensive.

The country recently announced that it will use the designs developed by Dutch consultancy and engineering firm Royal HaskoningDHV, and partners, which leverages the polder method, for the reclamation of 8.1 square kilometres of land to be added to Pulau Tekong, one of Singapore’s largest islands.

Singapore picks Royal HaskoningDHV polder design for land addition

The professional services firm worked, together with Surbana Jurong, a local consultancy, on a detailed study – which including input from Kees d'Angremond as an expert adviser – of the area and project. The project team, which too was supported by Deltares as a Specialist Consultant , also created an engineering design for the development in collaboration with Singapore’s Housing & Development Board.

Mark van Zanten, Senior Project Manager at Royal HaskoningDHV, remarks that the firm is “proud” to help build the future of Singapore. He adds, “The polder approach has been used in the Netherlands for many centuries, but is still in its infancy in Southeast Asia and the rest of the world. This approach significantly reduces the volume of sand required as compared to the traditional method of land reclamation, and will ultimately result in savings on upfront construction costs.”

Loh Yan Hui, the Deputy CEO for Infrastructure , Surbana Jurong, adds, “Innovative and cost effective reclamation solutions are needed to help countries tackle the challenge of rising sea levels as a result of global warming. This partnership with Royal HaskoningDHV is the first of its kind in this region. Royal HaskoningDHV’s global experience in polder reclamation combined with Surbana Jurong’s coastal engineering experience and knowledge of the local environment in Asia puts us in a unique position to offer innovative and cost effective reclamation solutions to clients in Singapore and the region.”