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PUB looking to guard reservoirs against rising seas

SINGAPORE — The Public Utilities Board (PUB) is looking at ways to protect Singapore’s coastal reservoir structures from rising sea levels.

PUB looking to guard reservoirs against rising seas

Marina Reservoir, one of 11 reservoirs the PUB will study. TODAY file photo.

SINGAPORE — The Public Utilities Board (PUB) is looking at ways to protect Singapore’s coastal reservoir structures from rising sea levels.

To do this, the national water agency has called for a tender for an engineering study to be conducted at 11 of the Republic’s 17 reservoirs, it said in a statement today (Jan 27).

The study would review the design of existing structures — such as dams, tidal gates, dykes and spillways — and assess their adequacy to cope with projected sea level rises. Dams and dykes are especially important in estuarine reservoirs, where they work as tidal barriers to prevent seawater from entering the water supply.

In addition, the study will also look into measures of improving the reservoirs’ ability to withstand higher sea levels, such as the raising of tidal gates and the installation of buffer beams.

Mr Tan Nguan Sen, the PUB’s chief sustainability officer, said that such studies would help the agency “prepare for future sea level rises” and “take early steps to protect coastal reservoirs against seawater intrusion up to the year 2100”.

Experts say that rising sea levels could have a devastating effect on Singapore, as 30 per cent of the island lies less than 5m above the mean sea level. The first phase of the 2nd National Climate Change Study, conducted by the Centre for Climate Research Singapore last year, predicted that average sea levels could rise up to 0.76m by the end of the century.

The Government has already taken several measures to prepare for rising sea levels in the future: Last week, The Straits Times reported that Nicoll Drive, which runs along the Changi Beach coastline, was being raised by 0.8m, and in 2011, the minimum land reclamation level was raised by 1m. This brought the new level to more than 2m above the highest recorded sea level, well above projected sea level rises.

The study will cover all nine estuarine reservoirs, along with the Pandan Reservoir and Jurong Lake. ASHUTOSH RAVIKRISHNAN

 

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