Da Nang and Quang Nam, Vietnam: Trans-Boundary River Basin Management in Central Vietnam (Policy Brief)

The tributaries of the Vu Gia – Thu Bon river basin have their origins in the highlands of Quang Nam province in central Vietnam, but as it reaches the flat coastal floodplain, the river splits into multiple uncontrolled branches, which reach the sea through Da Nang city at the city’s deepwater harbour, and through Hoi An city in a much shallower estuary. Both Da Nang and Hoi An are subject to flooding during severe storm events upstream, and during the dry season Da Nang’s water treatment plant, which extracts water from the river, is subject to constraints due to low river flows and salinization. Water flows are strongly affected by the operation of 10 upstream hydro reservoirs of varying size (with more planned), and by pollution from industrial activity in Quang Nam. In the fertile coastal floodplains along the river, farmers are subject to unpredictable flooding, riverbank erosion, and sedimentation. The provinces have different interests, and decision-making authority rests at the provincial level. Historically, there have been no practical mechanisms for collaboration or coordination of provincial river management decisions, leading to disjointed decision-making, conflict over water management, and assignment of blame by each party to the other. Technical analysis, modeling and planning exercises are undertaken independently by various technical agencies, but not shared with other organizations whose decisions also affect river management.


In this context, Da Nang and Quang Nam provinces agreed to establish an experimental collaborative River Basin Organization, with a mandate for data collection, modeling and information sharing but no authority to take independent action. While other basin-level organizations and plans have been created in Vietnam, they have met only infrequently (e.g. annually) and have been relatively ineffective. The new RBO was established by formal agreement between the two provinces in August 2017. This project supported the nascent RBO through the development and piloting of a platform for cross-border river management in the Vu Gia – Thu Bon river basin.

Citation:

MacClune, K., Tyler, S. & Nguyen, T. (2019). Da Nang and Quang Nam: Trans-Boundary River Basin Management in Central Vietnam. Boulder, CO: Institute for Social and Environmental Transition-International.

Funded by:

The Global Resilience Partnership and the Rockefeller Foundation

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