Land Reclamation in Singapore

Reasons for land Reclamation

Large-scale land reclamation in Singapore since the 1960s is due to:

  • the small size of the country (total area being about 581.5km square prior to 1960) and
  • the increase demand for more land as the population grows.

The reclaimed land is used for

  • private and public housing estates and recreational facilities
  • expanding of commercial and industrial activities
  • infrastructure needs, which include roads, expressways, the Mass Rapid Transit System, the port and airport facilities.



The total land area of Singapore was 633km square by 1990. There was an increase of 51.5km square, and this made up 8.9% of the total land area in Singapore. With continuing land reclamation, land area in Singapore will increase by about another 100km square by the year 2030.


However, there are some constraints to be considered:

  • Land reclamation works in the past used to be carried out from depths of 5-10m. Today, reclamation works have to venture into deeper waters of 15m or more, and this will incur higher cost.
  • It is also not so viable to pursue pushing reclamation further offshore because there is the competing need to maintain the sealanes and provide new and larger ports for the bigger ships to anchor in Singapore’s limited sea space.


Method of Land Reclamation

The landfill mothod is used to reclaim land from the coast and the swamps in Singapore. It is also used in reclamation works involving the merging of islands. One such project is the amalgamation of Pulau Sakra and Pulau Bakau into a big island called Pulau Sakara, which is ten times the size of the two former islands.

In the early years, the fill materials were evacuated from the hills in Bedok, Siglap, Tampines and Jurong. In recent years, sea sand are obtained from the seabed as the main source of fill materials for reclamation. And the sea sand are mostly imported from the neighbouring countries such as Indonesia.



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