Royal HaskoningDHV is delivering the first integrated Master Plan for the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, funded by the World Bank. The plan sets out development orientations and spatial planning across different disciplines in the Mekong Delta to 2030, with a further view towards 2050. Digitally based decision-making is a critical component of this future-focused plan. The plan will help Vietnam and the Mekong Delta region make climate-smart choices. It is the first plan to be prepared under the Law on Planning (LOP) which included a mechanism to improve coordination of sectoral and provincial planning at the regional level.
The geographical situation of the Mekong Delta renders it highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including rising sea levels, flooding during the wet season and water shortages during the dry season. The overall purpose behind the plan is to build a resilient Mekong Delta and help Vietnam make climate-smart choices which are long-term, integrated and adaptive. A priorities within this will be taking urgent action to combat climate change and to support socio economic development in an environmentally sustainable manner. A key aspect of the integrated plan is water: delivering water management, water resource management, clean drinking water and sanitation for all.
An economical hub
The Mekong Delta is essential to Vietnam’s economy, as an import/export hub for the country’s agricultural industry. The area is highly fertile and is the largest regional producer and exporter of rice, fruit, fish and aquaculture products. However, its GDP per capita is lower than the national average and ongoing building and expansion add to the pressure on natural resources.
Royal HaskoningDHV is working closely with Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI). Together with the MPI other ministries and stakeholders are involved in preparing the Integrated Regional Master Plan.
Digital thinking and tooling
A 'digital decision support toolkit' is being prepared to promote and help an evidence-based planning approach and coordination in driving future direction. This will be pulled together into a real-time information hub supporting a decision-making process with transparent, visualised information for all stakeholders. The toolkit includes a sophisticated database and analytical tools such as hydro-hydraulic modelling software.
Thang Doan, Director of the Water Vietnam Royal HaskoningDHV, said: "The Ministry of Planning and Investment has long recognised the vital role of water as a key natural resource in the ongoing development of the Mekong Delta; as well as the significant threats posed by climate change. We are proud to bring our water resilience expertise, combined with the latest digital thinking and tooling, to help create an achievable long-term vision for economic success and resilience for this important part of Vietnam."
A strategy to protect, improve and promote
The strategy of the integrated Master Plan is to both manage challenges and to create value. It aims to protect people, improve livelihoods, promote a more balanced regional development, improve the environment and strengthen climate resilience within the Mekong Delta.
The four integrated elements of this strategy are:
- Agriculture: promote and support the production of larger quantities of higher-value, good quality crops based on land and water suitability, by relaxing land use restrictions, providing more support to farmers and promoting improved farming practices;
- Agro-industrial hubs: to collect and consolidate agriculture and aquaculture products locally on a sub-regional basis, and add value, through developing processing hubs, being located preferably in provincial centres, also with services and other industries;
- Transportation: phased improvement of roads, inland water transport (IWT) and ports, as well as regional logistics, to support the processing hubs and to improve overall accessibility within the region to benefit other sectors; and
- Water management: protection of the core freshwater zone and coastal areas, improved water quality (especially in relation to agriculture and aquaculture), climate change adaptation and management of natural disaster risks.