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SINGAPORE (July 17): Citing a risk of being engulfed by the sea, one of the world’s smallest countries is increasing spending to fight the threat of rising water levels.

Singapore will invest $400 million over the next two years to upgrade its drainage systems, Masagos Zulkifli, minister for the environment and water resources, said at a conference in the island city on Wednesday. That’s on top of about $1.8 billion the country has already spent since 2011 to boost flood resilience, he said.

With almost one-third of Singapore just five meters (16 feet) above sea level, the city is trying to make sure its critical infrastructure remains safe. The country has built a new port in the western part of the island and a fifth terminal at Changi airport on higher platform levels, Zulkifli said.

“Climate change sets us a monumental, inter-generational task -- how to ensure that our Little Red Dot does not disappear below the waves,” Zulkifli said.

The country is also studying how to protect low-lying areas around its coast from disappearing if water levels rise. One way is to use polders, or dykes, to reclaim land.

The environment ministry will form a citizen workgroup in September to encourage people to make choices that are climate-friendly, such as recycling at home. The nation is also “on track” with a plan to increase adoption of solar power, Zulkifli said.