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The Mekong Delta is sinking | Research on land subsidence

As two low-lying delta countries, the Netherlands and Vietnam are long-standing partners in the field of water cooperation. In only 25 years, the Mekong Delta has been transformed from a stable area into a rapidly subsiding delta. Using a new three-dimensional groundwater model of the entire delta, researchers from Utrecht & Can Tho University, Deltares and the “Division of Water Resources Planning and Investigation for the South of Vietnam” have shown how much and where the land is subsiding, largely due to groundwater extraction. The study shows that Vietnam is pumping itself down faster and faster. 

Most bridges in the Mekong Delta are bumpy because the road to
the bridge has sunk while the bridge itself is less prone to soil
settlement and overall subsidence because of its foundation pillars

The rate of subsidence has reached several centimeters a year, which is a lot higher than the global sea-level rise of a few millimeters a year. That is alarming news for the delta, which is only 1-2 meters elevated above sea-level. This fertile area is home to 18 million people and a global exporter of rice, shrimp and fruits. It faces a major catastrophe and action is needed. In this one-pager the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands highlights what was done, what was learned, what was recommended and what are the next steps. The aim is to visualize the Dutch expertise and contribution to Vietnam.

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