Introduction

Components

The project consists of 05 major work packages (WP):

  1. WP1:  Coordination and Project Management
  • Project staff member: Prof. Dr. Piet Hoekstra.
  • Advisors: Project members of the Utrecht University, Netherlands.
  • Time of the WP: 05 years.
  • Expert(s) and skill(s): Project management.
  1. WP2: Stimulate knowledge and scientific interaction
  • Project staff members: All project members.
  • Advisor: Prof. Dr. Piet Hoekstra.
  • Time of the WP: 05 years (from 2014 to 2018).
  • Expert(s) and skill(s): Communication.
  1. WP3: Including 5 research projects

        WP 3.1: Water management and governance

  • Project staff members: Dr. Henriëtte Otter and Dr. Van Pham Dang Tri – a postdoc researcher at Can Tho University.
  • Advisor: Dr. Jelle Behagel.
  • Time of the WP: From 1st  to 3rd year (from 2014 to 2016).
  • Research school: School for Socio-Economic and Natural Sciences of the Environment (SENSE).
  • Expert(s) and skill(s): Public administration, qualitative research and case study.
Details WP 3.1: Water management and governance

WP 3.1: Governance strategies for sustainable management

1. Introduction

Waterscape reflects the interaction between anthropological and physical aspects of water resources1. To enhance waterscape management for a sustainable development, it is necessary to enhance understanding of the physical aspect of the resources and to improve management of such resources. In order to increase system understanding of an area, it is important to not only use scientific but also indigenous knowledge which is owned by relevant practitioners and stakeholders. The former could be achieved via different numerical approaches while the later could be done via the participation of different relevant stakeholders. Core principles of participatory monitoring and evaluation include: i) primary stakeholders are active participants not just sources of information; ii) building capacity of local people to analyze, reflect and take action; iii) joint learning of stakeholders at various levels; and, iv) catalyze commitment to taking corrective actions. Such the enhancement of participation of relevant stakeholders in decision-making processes helps improve the resources governance of the study area.

Staffs of the sub-project:

  • – Supervisor – Advisor:
  • – Post-doctoral researcher:
    • Van Pham Dang Tri, Ph.D.; College of Environment and Natural Resources, Can Tho University; email:  vpdtri@ctu.edu.vn

2. Objectives

Objectives of post-doctoral project are to identify and develop governance strategies (together with public and private stakeholders) to deal with groundwater extraction, subsidence and salt-water intrusion in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta, leading to negative impacts on the economic and potential ecological balance. The objectives are: i) to analyze local governance practices for groundwater extraction, land subsidence, and seawater intrusion; and, ii) to address particular governance challenges, including the needs for efficient coordination and increased participation of local actors.

3. Approach

The decision making processes are characterized by a high degree of complexity with the involvement of actors, and ambiguity in the division of responsibilities, leading to uncertainties and fragmented management strategies with which practitioners have to deal. To analyse how current governance practices address the short- and long-term term dimension and the uncertainties surrounding groundwater extraction, subsidence and seawater intrusion and to figure out possible approaches which could be used to improve the current settings, the following sub-activities are planned:

  • The analysis of current governance practices within the study areas, including the institutional framework, relevant actors (including stakeholders), and regulations. The analysis will be carried out based on document review and qualitative interviewing and involves institutional and network analysis.
  • An inventory of current governance challenges to integrated management of the water system will be produced. The governance challenges will be based on a review of governance literature and policy documents, as well as on workshops (and personal interviews) with relevant actors. Expected challenges include the actual nature (assumed to be ‘weak’) cooperation and coordination among institutional actors, fragmentation of governance practices due to administrative borders, ambiguities over governmental competencies, lack of participation, and problems with policies ‘hitting the ground’.
  • The identification of promising governance strategies for the integrated management of groundwater extraction, subsidence and seawater intrusion in delta areas. These strategies will be based on both scholarly and practical international expertise as well as the local input of relevant actors during workshops. Promising governance strategies include social learning and participatory monitoring, amongst others.

4. Research questions

(being updated)

5. Work plan

(being updated)

6. Deliverables

  • An analysis of local governance practices (at the deltaic scale and focusing on both surface and groundwater resources, including the dimensions of institutions, actors, and regulations.
  • An analysis of governance challenges for the Soc Trang province, the main case study of the project.
  • Identification of promising governance strategies for integrated water management in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta to deal with anthropological and physical changes.
  • 03 submitted manuscripts to peer-reviewed journals based on the analyses.
  • 02 case study reports aimed at practioners on governance strategies for the study area.
  • 02 policy briefs on governance strategies for the Mekong Delta.

7. Cooperation

The input from the PhD projects to the post-doc project is vital in providing physical system knowledge and to assess the technical feasibility of proposed strategies (Figure 1). In addition, in collaboration with other researchers, relevant context and challenges to integrated water management will be provided, which will provide important input to the ‘capacity building and training’ sub-section of the project, specifically in identifying governance strategies. Stakeholder participation is foreseen to ensure that the development of strategies is in line with socio-economic and cultural developments in the urbanizing delta.

sub project

Figure 1: Interaction between different sub-projects

Together with other PhD students under supervision of Prof. Frans van Geer (TNO/Uttrech University; email:  frans.vangeer@tno.nl), the post-doctoral researcher is also involved in developing an integrated delta model to focus on the domains fresh and saline groundwater, land subsidence and seawater intrusion in surface water. All models have their own specific scales in space and time. Nevertheless the processes are coupled in the sense that the output of one model can be input of another model. Over longer time scales, in some cases it might be necessary to integrate the models during the calculations. Also, the scenarios create mutual dependencies between models. For example a reduction of groundwater extraction has to be compensated by other sources of drinking water, which may lead to an increase of extraction in the surface water system. For that, we need a toolbox to link data and models and to help us better manage the Vietnamese Mekong water system on a strategic time scale.

The integrated model is based on the FEWS system (www.delft-fews.eu; Figure 2), an open sources tool developed by Deltares. It is a state-of-the-art system to integrate large data sets and (third-party) models, specialized modules to process the data, and to open interfaces to allow easy integration of existing modelling capacities. It is a sophisticated collection of modules designed for building a hydrogeological system customized to the specific requirements of an individual organization, for example supporting the development of different regional and national strategies from a groundwater point of view. FEWS sustains the multi-scale approach that we will use in the project: it ensures that scenarios are consistent in all innovative models and that forecasts and effects of the measures are communicated with the stakeholders.

tri

Figure 2: Example of the application of the FEWS open source tool to operate with a system of models and data sets and making use of interfaces for the exchange of information.
1 Molle, F., Foran, T., & Floch, P. (2009). Introduction: Changing Waterscape in the Mekong Region – Historical Background and Context. In F. Molle, T. Foran, & Mira (Eds.), Contested Waterscape in the Mekong Region: Hydropower, Livelihoods and Governance. Pasir Panjang, Singapore: ISEAS Publishing.

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      WP 3.2: Fresh and saline groundwater dynamics

  • Project staff members: Prof. Dr. Frans van Geer and Mr. Pham Van Hung – a PhD candidate.
  • Advisors: Dr. Gualbert Oude Essink and Dr. Bui Tran Vuong.
  • Time of the WP: From 1st year to 4th year (from 2014 to 2017).
  • Research school: School of Geosciences, Utrecht University, Netherlands.
  • Expert(s) and skill(s): Hydrogeology, geophysics, modelling, variable-density groundwater and geo-statistics.
Details WP 3.2: Fresh and saline groundwater dynamics

 WP 3.2: Fresh and saline groundwater dynamics

1. Introduction

The PhD project 2 ‘Fresh and saline groundwater dynamics’ is a part of the project ‘Rise and fall: strategies for the subsiding and urbanising Mekong Delta (Vietnam) facing increasing salt water intrusion’. Processes such as salt water intrusion, increase of water use, changes in land use and climate result in changes in the integrated, dynamic system ‘Surface water – groundwater – land subsidence’. The PhD project 2 focusses on the groundwater aspects, whereas two other PhD projects concentrate on surface water and land subsidence issues.

Staffs of the sub-project:

  • – Supervisor – Advisor:
  • – PhD student:
    • + Pham Van Hung, Division of Water Resources Planning and Investigation for the South of Vietnam (DWRPIS); email:hungalhp@yahoo.com

2. Objective

The objectives of PhD project 2 are:

  • To analyse, monitor, quantify and predict the dynamic behaviour of fresh and saline groundwater in response to surface water dynamics, land subsidence and urbanization induced changes in the hydrogeological system.
  • To evaluate the added value of Airborne Electro-Magnetic (AEM) measurements, relative to traditional (geophysical) data collection.
  • To be responsible and significantly contribute to the Integrated Modelling Toolbox (general objective of the overall project).

3. Research questions

The main focus of the PhD project 2 is the analysis of the groundwater system with emphasis on the distribution of fresh and saline groundwater. Specific questions are:

  • What is the present spatial distribution of fresh and saline groundwater?
  • What are the main sources of fresh and saline groundwater?
  • What are the past, present and future (sustainable) groundwater extraction rates?
  • What is the distribution of residence times of the fresh groundwater and how far is it replenished?
  • In how far can the estimate of present spatial distribution of fresh and saline groundwater be improved by AEM measurements?
  • What are the costs of existing (geophysical) monitoring techniques?
  • How does salt water intrusion in surface water interact with groundwater?
  • How do the developments in groundwater (salinity and pressure) interact with land subsidence?
  • What will be the development of the distribution of fresh and saline groundwater due to urbanisation (changes in water consumption and land use)?

4. Cooperation

There will be a close cooperation with the other two PhD projects and de postdoc in the overall project. This cooperation is necessary in particular for the activities 4 (Fresh and saline groundwater dynamics) and 5 (Geology, lithology and subsidence). It is expected that a parallel PhD project in the STW-NWO Water Nexus framework will start by the end of 2014. This PhD-project addresses theoretical aspects of data-model integration concerning groundwater models and several types of data (including AEM). The main focus is on data rich environment but also a data poor case should be considered. Cooperation with the Water Nexus PhD in activities 2 and 3 is expected to be beneficial to both PhD’s.

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      WP 3.3: Geology, lithology and subsidence

  • Project staff members: Dr. Esther Stouthamer and Mr. Philip.Minderhoud – a PhD candidate.
  • Advisors: Dr. Gilles Erkens, Dr. Rien Dam and Dr. Bui Tran Vuong.
  • Time of the WP: From 1st year 4th year (from 2014 to 2017).
  • Research school: School of Geosciences, Utrecht University, Netherlands.
  • Expert(s) and skill(s): Geology/geography, hydrology and geo-mechanics
Details WP 3.3 Geology, lithology and subsidence

WP 3.3 Geology, lithology and subsidence

1. Introduction

The Mekong Delta is under pressure due to ongoing urbanization, land use change, and increased risk of flooding as a result of climate change and land subsidence. Subsidence in deltas is caused by natural background subsidence (e.g. tectonic basin subsidence, compaction of soft sediments in the subsurface) and by human activities (e.g. extraction of hydrocarbons and groundwater, loading by infrastructure and buildings). Subsidence in near coastal areas may be enhanced by salt water intrusion, potentially causing geochemical compaction of clayey sediments. The cumulative effects of the different components contributing to total subsidence are strongly dependent on the lithological composition of the subsurface, weight of overburden and mineralogical composition of clay.

2. Objective and main activities

Main objective of this PhD-research is to understand, quantify and predict subsidence in the Mekong Delta and to determine the impact of subsidence on current and future saltwater intrusion under different delta management scenarios.

Main activities within this project are:

  • Developing a (hydro)geological framework of the subsurface, based on existing and new field data;
  • Calculating subsidence of the saturated subsurface using an existing coupled groundwater-subsidence model;
  • Evaluation of the subsidence model by comparison to observational data of subsidence;
  • Assessing the contribution of shallow subsurface subsidence to the total subsidence during the past decennia;
  • Integrating results of the 3D geological subsurface model and subsidence calculations into an integrated tool box that links surface water, groundwater and geomechanical models, to analyze the interactions between groundwater extraction, subsidence rates and salt water intrusion;
  • Contributing to workshops and capacity building initiatives in Vietnam and The Netherlands.

3. Supervisors:

  • Dr. Esther Stouthamer (UU) / Dr. Gilles Erkens (Deltares).

4. PhD candidate:

  • Philip Minderhoud, MSc. (UU/Deltares) (link).

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       WP 3.4: Seawater intrusion in estuarine channel networks

  • Project staff members: Dr. Maarten van der Vegt and a PhD candidate.
  • Advisors: Prof. Dr. Piet Hoekstra, Dr. Van Pham Dang Tri and Dr. Trinh Thi Long.
  • Time of the WP: From 2015 to 2018.
  • Research school: School of Geosciences and School of Buys Ballot, Utrecht University, Netherlands.
  • Expert(s) and skill(s): Coastal oceanography, estuarine hydrodynamics and numerical modelling.
Details WP 3.4 Seawater intrusion in estuarine channel networks

WP 3.4 Seawater intrusion in estuarine channel networks

1. Objective:
Main objective of this PhD-research is to understand, quantify and predict salt water intrusion in estuarine channel networks as a function of sea level rise, subsidence and water demand.
 
 
2. Approach:
By applying a 1D-model, the large scale pattern of salt water intrusion at the scale of the entire delta will be simulated (Nguyen et al., 2006; Zhang et al., 2013). Eventually, The 1D surface water model will be coupled to the subsidence and groundwater model (WP 3.5).
In the next phase, by using a 3D model (e.g. Delft3D) salt water dynamics in the scale of one of the branches and dynamics of the junctions will be studied in further detail; This model can potentially be coupled with the 1D model (Twigt et al., 2009). The results will be used to further improve the 1D model. Both the 1D and 3D models will be used to study salt water intrusion as a function of subsidence, sea level rise and water demand. Scenarios will be developed in cooperation with local stakeholders. Data for model calibration and validation will come from several existing measuring stations and from a dedicated fieldwork in the focus area.
 
 
3. Expected outcomes:
  • Improved understanding of the dynamics of networks of distributary channels that are affected by river flow, tides and groundwater extraction.
  • Calibrated 1D model to simulate future salt water intrusion at the scale of the entire Mekong Delta.
  • Calibrated 3D model to (I) study the estuarine dynamics in the seaward part of the Bassac river, and (II) to predict changes in salt water intrusion as a function of groundwater extraction rates and future water demands.
  • The developed models will be integrated in the integrated delta model.
4. Supervisors:
  • Dr. Maarten van der Vegt
 
5. PhD candidate:
  • Ir. Sepehr Eslami Arab, PhD Candidate on Coastal Dynamics, Fluvial Systems and Global Change

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       WP 3.5: Integrated delta model

  • Project staff members: Prof. Dr. Frans van Geer, postdoc and PhD candidates.
  • Advisors: Dr. Bui Tran Vuong, Dr. Gualbert Oude Essink, Dr. Maarten van der Vegt, và Dr. Gilles Erkens.
  • Time of the WP: From 1st year to 4th year (from 2014 to 2017).
  • Research school: School of Geosciences, Utrecht University, Netherlands.
  • Expert(s) and skill(s): ICT, hydrological modelling, building and managing databases, model integration, data standards, and scenarios.
Details WP 3.5: Integrated delta model

Being updated…

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  1. WP4: Capacity development
  • Project staff member: Dr. Bui Tran Vuong.
  • Advisors: Dr. Henriette Otter and Dr. Jelle Behagel.
  • Time of the WP: From 1st year to 5th year (from 2014 to 2018).
  • Expert(s) and skill(s): Training, data collection and processing, participatory methods, use of integrated model, design of monitoring activities and networks.
  1. WP5: Communication
  • Project staff members: All project staff, external copywriters.
  • Advisor: Prof. Dr. Piet Hoekstra.
  • Time of the WP: 05 years (from 2014 to 2018).
  • Expert(s) and skill(s): Communication.
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