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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER)
Cycle 4 (2015 Deadline)

Application of geodetic, satellite remote sensing and physical modeling tools for management of operational groundwater resources in the Red River Delta, Vietnam

PI: Nguyen Duc Luong (, Institute of Environmental Science and Engineering , National University of Civil Engineering (NUCE)
U.S. Partner: Faisal Hossain, University of Washington
Project Dates: October 2015 - January 2019

Project Overview

4-189 Poster Presentation
Dr. Luong presents a poster on his PEER project at the VietWater Expo & Forum 2015.

The overall goal of this project is to transfer and build locally-developed applications of advanced technologies, including GRACE satellite gravimetry, satellite altimetry, and hydrologic and hydraulic models to Vietnamese institutions and agencies that manage groundwater resources in the Red River Delta (RRD) of Vietnam. In this project, the Institute of Environmental Science and Engineering (IESE) and the National Center for Water Resources Planning and Investigation (NAWAPI) will partner with the NASA-supported project “NASA WATER—Towards Operational Water Resources Management in South Asia Exploiting Satellite Geodetic and Remote Sensing Technologies (2014-2018),” which is led by Dr. Faisal Hossain at the University of Washington (UW). This three-year project is the first ever study adopting the promisingly integrated approach of geodetic, satellite remote sensing, and physical modeling tools for groundwater assessment in Vietnam. It is expected to provide a totally new spatial and temporal dataset for groundwater monitoring in the RRD, where groundwater is being over-exploited for domestic use and intensively irrigated agriculture activities. These efforts will support NAWAPI and relevant governmental agencies in their decision making activities for sustainable management of groundwater in this region and Vietnam. To achieve its goal, this project will provide technical training for IESE and NAWAPI staff members on independently managing and interpreting data from geodetic and satellite remote sensing, hydrologic, and hydraulic modeling tools for extracting regional and local-scale changes in groundwater storage anomalies for the RRD. This would then facilitate making projections for water resources planning at 30- to 180-day timescales for the RRD. 

This project supports USAID’s aims to strengthen the capacities of local stakeholders to address climate change impacts and build people’s resilience to long-term climate change. The innovative approach adopted in this project could be adapted and applied to similar research in other regions in Vietnam by local stakeholders without long-term dependency on the U.S. partners involved. Importantly, by participating in this project, research capacity and knowledge of project PI and other members with respect to application of geodetic, satellite remote sensing, and physical modeling tools for groundwater management would be significantly enhanced. In addition, the research infrastructure (remote sensing and GIS lab facilities, software, etc.) with the integrated system (geodetic, satellite remote sensing, and physical modeling tools) installed in this infrastructure would be built up at IESE. Along with the new knowledge and skills to be gained by Institute staff, these assets should contribute positively to other future research to be carried out at IESE.

Summary of Recent Activities

4-189 UW Visit
“(L-R) Nguyen Hoang Hiep, Faisal Hossain, and Nguyen Duc Luong during the visit of the Vietnamese researchers to the University of Washington, March-April 2016 (photo courtesy of Dr. Luong).

U.S. partner Dr. Faisal Hossain and his graduate student Mr. Nishan Biswas visited PI Dr. Nguyen Duc Luong and his team in Hanoi July 1-14, 2018. Working in close cooperation with Dr. Luong and his colleagues, the visitors helped NUCE and NAWAPI in the construction, operationalization, and troubleshooting of a real-time Web-based water forecasting system based on hydrologic modeling, weather model data, and satellite observations. The NUCE system for water forecasting of transboundary reservoirs and rivers is now online at According to Dr. Hossain, this is perhaps the world’s first operational monitoring system for transboundary reservoirs in a developing country. Dr. Luong also notes that the system will be providing useful data and results for NUCE and other research institutions and government agencies. A similar system has been also developed for NUCE’s governmental agency partner NAWAPI ( and has been highly appreciated by NAWAPI leaders. Hands-on trainings on operating the systems have been provided to staff at both NUCE and NAWAPI, and the systems are now undergoing testing by Dr. Luong and his team for further improvement. Thanks to a PEER Evidence-to-Action supplement, the PI and his colleagues have also continued to provide advanced training on GRACE-based monthly-to-seasonal monitoring of groundwater storage changes for stakeholder agencies (NAWAPI, CEM, and VNSC). Feedback from the trainees indicates that their skills in processing and analyzing GRACE data have significantly improved.

In addition to their research and training activities, Dr. Luong and his colleagues participated in the 8th International Forum on Green Technology and Management (IFGTM 2018), held in Hanoi September 4-5, 2018. They presented their PEER project activities and findings to the diverse set of participants in the event and made new connections with several institutions and agencies to develop future collaborations. As the project moves into its final months, the researchers are putting the finishing touches on their project website NUMOS (, and it should be activated at some point during the fall of 2018. The site will feature all project materials and findings with respect to modeling and satellite remote sensing tools that the team has obtained through their PEER project, in order to broaden the impact of their efforts and share the benefits with other colleagues in Vietnam and around the world..

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