School of Geography

Team secure £450,000 funding for research on the Red River Delta, Vietnam

Red River Delta

A new £450,000 research project investigating sustainable water management on the Red River Delta in Vietnam has recently been awarded UK and Vietnamese Collaborators under the Newton funding Scheme.

The project will involve collaborators from the School of Geography at the University of Nottingham (in UK and Malaysia), British Geological Survey and the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) in Hanoi. Under this scheme, the funding is awarded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Vietnamese NAFOSTED.

The project will investigate water quality issues in the Red River Delta in the north of Vietnam. This area supports 20 million inhabitants and includes a major rice-growing region and the city of Hanoi. There are multiple environmental issues in this region which have arisen from a combination of damming for hydropower production, groundwater extraction, and contamination with toxins and nutrients from intensive agriculture, industrialisation and urban growth.

The research will involve the development and application of the latest techniques of chemical analysis through a new collaboration with VAST and the Centre for Environmental Geochemistry (a University of Nottingham-British Geological Survey centre). Stable isotope analysis will be used to assess hydrology and nutrient cycling, quantification of toxic pollution including organic pollutants such as residues of the banned pesticide DDT and heavy metals, and analysis of emerging contaminants including pharmaceutical products which are being increasingly recognised as a water quality issue.

An important part of this project is knowledge exchange, and the project will be launched with a workshop in July including Vietnamese Ministry, industry and NGO representatives to ensure that the findings can be applied to improve water management in the region. The project will develop the installation of Microtox® techniques for water quality analysis in Vietnam and employ material flow analysis modelling to understand future water management scenarios in the delta region.

Project principle investigator Suzanne McGowan says: "Newton funding aims is to apply research for problem solving and we are looking forward to liaising with policymakers so that our research can be used to guide water management in this important but vulnerable region. To help with this task, we have employed Dr Tuong Thuy Vu from our Malaysia Campus, an expert in geospatial visualisation, to facilitate effective communication of the scientific findings."

The project includes a team of 10 collaborators from The University of Nottingham (Suzanne McGowan, Virginia Panizzo, Tuong Thuy Vu), British Geological Survey (Melanie Leng, Chris Vane), VAST (Do Thu Nga, Anh Duc Trinh, Thi Nguyet Minh Luu, Thi Phuong Quynh Le) and Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (Minh Tien Tran).

Find out more on the Red River website.

Posted on Wednesday 12th April 2017

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