Case study: Can Tho, Vietnam
Research question: What are the feasible strategies or options for a sustainable water system for Can Tho City to cope with the current problems resulting from high rates of urbanisation, population increase and looming climate change?
What is the project doing?
The project has three focus areas:
Together with local stakeholders, we developed a detailed understanding of the local urban water context, the likely influence of planned future urban development, and the regional climate change impacts on local water resources and the environment.
- Strategic Planning:
We established a portfolio of effective, feasible and action-supported strategic options for adaptive and sustainable urban water management in Can Tho City. The strategies were supported with science-based outcomes from integrated system assessments of the effectiveness and feasibility of the options.
We conducted trial and pilot testing in the local context for key options which were identified as no-regret adaptation measures. The options selected for demonstration were rainwater harvesting systems, and the design of sustainable water service provision in peri-urban areas.
The three focus areas aimed to provide the city with evidenced-based options for future development of urban water systems. They also provided the city with integrated data sets for use in planning for improved urban water services in Can Tho, and for informing future research.
Engaging and developing partnerships with key water and urban stakeholders in the city underpinned activities across all three focus areas. This engagement was an important component of building the capacity for research and development by local research partners and stakeholders.
A participatory approach with workshops and interviews was used throughout the study to ensure local knowledge was incorporated in the research and that key stakeholder organisations had a sense of ownership of project outcomes.
As a result, the research team provided a set of recommendations to the city, with a view to assisting the city in the development of a sustainable and adaptive urban water systems in a changing climate.
What did the project produce?
Over the two years from October 2010 to November 2012, the project has:
- Developed a detailed understanding with a tool for spatial representation of the local context and issues. The knowledge and the tool developed have been used to assist the city’s stakeholders and the research team to co-develop strategic actions to improve the city’s water services. This will also assist the local water management to identify critical urban water challenges and target segments of the community most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change for actions.
The research team completed the following.
- An extensive survey of households on issues of urban water services and climate change: this provided a good understanding of the interplay between level of access to water services and socio-economic data across Can Tho City. Analysis of the survey revealed that households on the peri‑urban fringe have the poorest access to adequate water supply and sanitation, leading to adverse impacts in terms of health outcomes and economic opportunities.
- An extensive sector review of the urban water system in Can Tho and related environmental management challenges. This review helped understand the institutional context, identify available data sources, and assess the Water Needs Index – a spatial analysis tool for water issues across the city’s landscapes.
- An analysis of the poverty dimensions of water and sanitation, and climate vulnerability for Can Tho City. This highlighted that poor households, which have to actively manage their water systems, are particularly vulnerable to the likely impacts of climate change.
- Co-developed with stakeholders a set of strategic adaptation options for the sustainable development of the city’s water system, and analysed the desired and unintended impacts, implementation pathways and project risks associated with the developed strategies. This set of strategic options and associate integrated assessment tools will assist the city in planning and investment decisions to improve the city’s water services, environment, and people livelihood.
- Undertook two demonstrations to undertake detailed assessment of adaptation options, through with providing hands-on training to local research partners to be able to assess and implement sustainable water services that are appropriate to the local context.
The demonstrations include the following.
- Rainwater harvesting systems that provided an understanding of rainwater quality and trialled cost effective options for improving quality of water harvested from roofs. It implemented pilot rainwater systems at the household scale, and for a university building. Rainwater tankswould be a suitable adaptation option to augment water supply in Vietnam where pollution, drought and salinity intrusion are critical issues for local water resources.
- Sustainable planning and design options for water and sanitation service in a peri-urban pilot area, considering life cycle costs, environmental impacts and institutional capacity. This provides the city with a very practical tool for sustainable development of its water services.
- Developed and/or improved the local capacity for climate adaptation in the urban water sector through developing:
- An introduction of systems thinking, which encouraged local stakeholders to depart from traditional ‘silo’ management to a more integrated thinking and collaborative approach
- A City Water Atlas that includes 25 GIS-based maps depicting current issues and challenges in the urban water systems and environment of the city. The Atlas and the associate GIS database has become an effective communication tool and platform for collaborative actions among local stakeholders.
- A new RfD capacity for the local research partners and stakeholders on Integrated Urban Water Systems Engineering and Management
- A strong collaborative partnership with research partners and the key relevant stakeholders in Can Tho.
Description of the case study: Urban water system in Can Tho, Vietnan.pdf
Can Tho Project Progress report - Year One: CanTho Project Newsletter.pdf
Final Synthesis reports:
Planning for sustainable urban water systems in adapting to a changing climate – a case study in Can Tho City, Vietnam
Project completion date – December 2012