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Cycle 8 (2019 Deadline)

Improved management of water and sediment yield in 3S basin – upper part of Mekong River Basin

PI: Duong Bui (, National Center for Water Resources Planning and Investigation, in partnership with the National University of Civil Engineering
U.S. Partners: Venkataraman Lakshmi, University of Virginia, and Hyongki Lee, University of Houston
Project dates:

Project Overview:

Through the project, the PI and his colleagues at the National Centre for Water Resources Planning and Investigation of Vietnam (NAWAPI) seek synergy with the NASA-funded project “Improved hydrologic decision support for the Lower Mekong River basin through integrated remote sensing and modeling, (2016-2019)” and the World Bank project “Understanding land use planning for the Vietnam Delta (2016-2019),” both of which are led by U.S. partner Prof. Venkataraman Lakshmi of the University of Virginia. In addition, the NAWAPI team will be working with another U.S. partner, Dr. Hyongki Lee of the University of Houston, who is leading two other NASA-supported projects. The ultimate goal of the new PEER partnership is to scale up the beneficial impact of state-of-the-art research in water management for the Mekong Delta residents of Vietnam, one of the regions most vulnerable regions to various climate change and water-induced challenges today. More specifically, the project aims to build capacity in water and sediment yield management agencies of Vietnam to independently use tools recently developed tools by the U.S. partners’ universities to address some of the most critical current questions in the region. Once all the new mainstem dams built by upstream countries on the Mekong become fully operational, how will they impact freshwater inflow downstream, as well as food production and the nutritional status of the population? Which regions within the Mekong will be more vulnerable to adverse impacts of upstream reservoir construction? These questions would apply similarly for ongoing and planned dam development, with critical impacts on downstream water, food, and energy in the region.

The Mekong River Basin is one the world’s most productive and diverse ecosystems. The Vietnamese Mekong Delta is a “rice bowl” for the country, providing more than one-half of the country’s rice yields, and the river is second only to the Amazon in terms of its diversity of freshwater fish species. However, due to the operational dams, the hydrologic flow changes and sediment trapping could have severe consequences to the river’s floodplain, reducing the sediment transport and nutrient loads for the Mekong Delta and threatening food security for the region. NAWAPI has recently completed a water planning project for the Srepok River, part of the 3S Basin. However, the results were limited only to water allocation planning and included only initial results from a field survey on water quality for the Srepok portion of the 3S Basin only. Meanwhile, given that there are more than 40 upstream hydroelectric dams in this basin, the evolution of the total amount of sediment will be a very important issue because it directly affects rice farming, fisheries, and other related industries in the downstream area. Therefore, the main purpose of this project is to build on the outcomes of the previous project to develop the next step for calculating the amount of sediment yield in the basin. Combined with socioeconomic development factors and climate change scenarios, a modelling tool could simulate streamflow and sediment for various scenarios to optimize dam operations to balance economic development and ecosystem requirements. Project results should support the capabilities of key government stakeholders in making decisions on the sustainable management of water and sediment yield for the Vietnamese people.  

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