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Climate Change Adaptation and Water Policy: Lessons from Singapore


Correspondence to: Lovleen Bhullar, Institute of Water Policy, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, Singapore. E-mail:


Asian countries with large populations concentrated in coastal cities are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts, such as sea level rise. This, in turn, can adversely affect water resources as a result of flooding, coastal erosion, water scarcity etc. Singapore has been hailed for its progressive water policies and practices, which were developed to overcome its natural resource disadvantage (limited resource base) and to achieve self-sufficiency. Certainly, Singapore's geopolitical situation may have provided an atmosphere conducive to the development of progressive policies; however, it is worth exploring how Singapore is preparing for climate change adaptation, as this may allow other cities/countries to learn from Singapore's experience. The paper evaluates the contribution of Singapore's water policies and practices to climate change adaptation, and examines whether they can support the development of adaptation strategies in the water sector for other similarly situated cities in vulnerable countries. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment