The Mekong Delta (MD) is an economically developing zone. The urbanization has changed its spatial structure. Land use planning has not been observed due to different causes. The impacts of climate change and sea level rise will change the ecological environment of most area of the MD. As a consequence, some planning will have to be changed in compliance with natural conditions. The flooding area of the MD varies between 1.2 to 1.9 million ha depending on types and flood. Small and medium floods which are basically useful for agricultural livelihoods and life of people in MD, are called normal or “beautiful” floods. In contrast, the big floods are usually a catastrophe which causes casualties and the economic losses and the infrastructural damage.

Climate is already changing in the Delta. Some trends in temperature, rainfall and sea level rise are noticeable. Rice production will be affected as a result of intensive and excessive flooding in the tidally inundated and prolong flooding in the depression areas of the Mekong Delta. The consequence of 1m sea level rise as expected will be affecting 334,000 hectares in which the effect is more frequent and higher that gives rise to crop land economic losses. Vietnam was still a net rice importing country in 1985, but it exported 1.4 million tons of rice in 1989 and continued up to today, with more than 90% from the MRD. This remarkable increase in rice production is related to the expansion and increased density of the irrigation and drainage system. However, the area is posed to the threat of annual flood from May to November. The full potential for agriculture and aquaculture production in the MD can only be exploited if flooding in the wet season and irrigation in the dry season in the fresh-water upper part are controlled, and salinity management in the coastal zones is improved.

This study will focus on the spatial differences in the adaptation to the flood of the local farmers and communities before and after the construction of dyke system on the basis of social-economics. The beneficiaries and the population which are expected to be affected from the dyke system in the protected floodplains will be discussed. In the final, the project also tries to answer how the policies of climate, land use and resilience for the MD can be improved.

Funding: Australian Development Scholarship (ADS)

Advisors: Dr Paul Dargusch, Assoc Prof Patrick Moss


Project members

Hoang Nguyen Huu

Hoang Nguyen Huu

PhD candidate