Land Reclamation

Land Reclamation
ENTRY DATE: 21 April 2015| LAST UPDATE: 21 April 2015
Categories: Coastal Regions | Utilising and adapting natural surroundings
Technological Maturity: Applicable immediately
Technology Owners:

Large-scale enlargement requires institutional support while small-scale reclamation can be community led 

Needs Addressed

Measures against erosion, storm surges, flooding, inundation

Adaptation Effects
  • Land acquired contributes to coastal defence
  • Provides land for agricultural production
Overview and Features

Creation of new areas from places close to the sea level by enclosing or filling areas near the shore with sediment. Land reclamation is done where the demand for coastal land is high such as industrial and residential areas.

Figure: Land Claim Methods (Source: Linham and Nicholls, 2010)

  • Costs depend on chosen method of reclamation, availability and proximity of fill material from onshore or offshore sites, number, type, size and availability of dredgers, requirement for hard protection measures to defend reclaimed land from coastal flooding and erosion, project size and resulting economies of scale, estimated material losses, planning costs, human resources, materials, maintenance
  • The cost of land claim in South East Asia in 2009 was 3-5 USD per cubic metre of material (IUCN, undated)
  • The cost of land claim in Hong Kong in 2009 was 3.9 USD per square metre using marine-based fill and 6.4 USD per square metre when using land-based fill material (Fogarty, D.2012)
Energy Source
  • Human resources
  • Energy used for construction
Ease of Maintenance

Need continued maintenance to defend reclaimed areas, which have already suffered inundation

Technology Performance
  • Effective where sediment is in rich supply, but may become more difficult to implement as sediment sources decline
  • Reclamation on higher elevation areas requires less construction, it is better protected from wave action and generally has more mature soil than low elevation areas, therefor being preferable for agriculture.
  • Lower elevation zones therefore require more investment and engineering
Considerations (technology transfer criteria, challenges, etc.)
  • Planning should incorporate future climate projections in order that designs reduce exposure to coastal flooding
  • Must be used in tandem with structural barriers that protect newly claimed land from coastal inundation
  • Land claim activities are long-term, requiring ongoing maintenance and therefore have ongoing costs as well as necessitating structural provisions such as sea defence structures
Co-benefits, Suitability for Developing Countries
  • Provides land for development, leisure and tourism activities, which can enhance economic gain
  • Where coastal land is in high demand, reclaimed land has a high economic value
Information Resources

ClimateTehWiki, n.d. Land claim. Available at: [04 December 2014]

Fogarty, D.2012. Singapore raises sea defences against tide of climate change. Available at:  [19 March 2015]

IUCN, Undated. IUCN situation analysis on East and Southeast Asian intertidal habitats,with particular reference to the Yellow Sea. Available at: [19 March 2015]Linham, M. and Nicholls, R.J. 2010.

Linham, M. and Nicholls, R.J. 2010. Technologies for Climate Change Adaptation: Coastal erosion and flooding. TNA Guidebook Series. UNEP/GEF. Available at: [04 December 2014]

Ning, A.C.T., Ming, A.B.K., Lee, D. and Yin, K.K. 2010. Towards A Sustainable Reclamation for Hong Kong. HKIE Environmental Division. Available at: [08 April 2015]