Addressing salt water intrusion and land subsidence for urbanized deltas In the Mekong Delta (Vietnam)


This project seeks to enhance the capabilities of individuals and organisations to develop sustainable strategies for dealing with groundwater extraction, land subsidence and salt water intrusion in the increasingly urbanising Mekong Delta (Vietnam)


In Southeast Asia, major metropolitan areas are located in large river deltas that face a range of problems. Urbanisation and population growth in these areas will increase dramatically in the coming decades. Consequently, land use changes from agricultural to urban occur and the demand for clean drinking water increases. The Mekon Delta is considered as an ideal example. In only 25 years, it has changed from a stable area into a fast-paced delta due to the lack of accurate policy measures to cope with these problems. This leads to accelerated land subsidence and increase of salt-water intrusion in both surface water and groundwater. Without adequate water management measures, urbanisation will result in shortage of clean water for public water supply and agricultural use, increased flood risk, and damage to buildings and infrastructure due to land subsidence.

The participatory modelling approach was used to support the study of challenges by enlarging the knowledge base of stakeholders (including policy makers, water managers and scientists) and working with them to develop and implement innovative tools and technologies in practice and policy. For that, we convened a 5 days’ workshop in Mekong Delta. Together with the stakeholders we constructed a new model and we applied this model to quantify the effects of water management strategies in the Mekong Delta. Stakeholders analysed and developed adequate strategies by simulating and demonstrating the effects of development scenarios and policy recommendations, such as expressed in the Mekong Delta Plan (2013).


The partners involved in this project included Deltares, Utrecht University as the Dutch partners and Division for Water Resources Planning and Investigation for the South of Vietnam (DWRPIS), College of Environment and Natural Resources – Can Tho University – Vietnam as the Vietnamese partners.


  • A new delta- model that consists of dynamically coupled surface water, ground water and geo-mechanical model.
  • A toolbox to quantify the effects of management strategies and policies on groundwater quality and level, land subsidence and flooding risk.
  • A large scale of information on bottom composition and ground water characteristics.
  • : Laura Basco Carrera