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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 18, issue 11 | Copyright

Special issue: Flood risk assessment and management

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 2859-2876, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 05 Nov 2018

Research article | 05 Nov 2018

Towards risk-based flood management in highly productive paddy rice cultivation – concept development and application to the Mekong Delta

Nguyen Van Khanh Triet1,2, Nguyen Viet Dung1, Bruno Merz1,3, and Heiko Apel1 Nguyen Van Khanh Triet et al.
  • 1GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Section 5.4 Hydrology, Potsdam, 14473, Germany
  • 2SIWRR Southern Institute of Water Resources Research, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • 3Institute of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Potsdam, Potsdam, 14476, Germany

Abstract. Flooding is an imminent natural hazard threatening most river deltas, e.g. the Mekong Delta. An appropriate flood management is thus required for a sustainable development of the often densely populated regions. Recently, the traditional event-based hazard control shifted towards a risk management approach in many regions, driven by intensive research leading to new legal regulation on flood management. However, a large-scale flood risk assessment does not exist for the Mekong Delta. Particularly, flood risk to paddy rice cultivation, the most important economic activity in the delta, has not been performed yet. Therefore, the present study was developed to provide the very first insight into delta-scale flood damages and risks to rice cultivation. The flood hazard was quantified by probabilistic flood hazard maps of the whole delta using a bivariate extreme value statistics, synthetic flood hydrographs, and a large-scale hydraulic model. The flood risk to paddy rice was then quantified considering cropping calendars, rice phenology, and harvest times based on a time series of enhanced vegetation index (EVI) derived from MODIS satellite data, and a published rice flood damage function. The proposed concept provided flood risk maps to paddy rice for the Mekong Delta in terms of expected annual damage. The presented concept can be used as a blueprint for regions facing similar problems due to its generic approach. Furthermore, the changes in flood risk to paddy rice caused by changes in land use currently under discussion in the Mekong Delta were estimated. Two land-use scenarios either intensifying or reducing rice cropping were considered, and the changes in risk were presented in spatially explicit flood risk maps. The basic risk maps could serve as guidance for the authorities to develop spatially explicit flood management and mitigation plans for the delta. The land-use change risk maps could further be used for adaptive risk management plans and as a basis for a cost–benefit of the discussed land-use change scenarios. Additionally, the damage and risks maps may support the recently initiated agricultural insurance programme in Vietnam.

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Short summary
In this study we provide an estimation of flood damages and risks to rice cultivation in the Mekong Delta. The derived modelling concept explicitly takes plant phenomenology and timing of floods in a probabilistic modelling framework into account. This results in spatially explicit flood risk maps to rice cultivation, quantified as expected annual damage. Furthermore, the changes in flood risk of two land-use scenarios were estimated and discussed.
In this study we provide an estimation of flood damages and risks to rice cultivation in the...