Recent flood dynamics of the Mekong Delta have raised concerns about an increased flood risk downstream in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta. Accelerated high dike building on the floodplains of the upper delta to allow triple cropping of rice has been linked to higher river water levels in the downstream city of Can Tho. This paper assesses the hydraulic impacts of upstream dike construction on the flood hazard downstream in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta. We combined the existing one-dimensional (1-D) Mekong Delta hydrodynamic model with a quasi-two-dimensional (2-D) approach. First we calibrated and validated the model using flood data from 2011 and 2013. We then applied the model to explore the downstream water dynamics under various scenarios of high dike construction in An Giang Province and the Long Xuyen Quadrangle. Calculations of water balances allowed us to trace the propagation and distribution of flood volumes over the delta under the different scenarios. Model results indicate that extensive construction of high dikes on the upstream floodplains has had limited effect on peak river water levels downstream in Can Tho. Instead, the model shows that the impacts of dike construction, in terms of peak river water levels, are concentrated and amplified in the upstream reaches of the delta. According to our water balance analysis, river water levels in Can Tho have remained relatively stable, as greater volumes of floodwater have been diverted away from the Long Xuyen Quadrangle than the retention volume lost due to dike construction. Our findings expand on previous work on the impacts of water control infrastructure on flood risk and floodwater regimes across the delta.
Duc Tran, D., Van Halsema, G., Hellegers, P. J. G. J., Phi Hoang, L., Quang Tran, T., Kummu, M., & Ludwig, F. (2018). Assessing impacts of dike construction on the flood dynamics of the Mekong Delta. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 22(3), 1875–1896. https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-22-1875-2018