Inspiring Practice Project

IMRR Project - Integrated and sustainable water management of the Vietnamese Red-Thai Binh River System in a changing climate

Uploaded by Rodolfo Soncini Sessa on 13 January 2017
Last modified on 15 March 2017

The IMRR project aims at developing and promoting strategies for the sustainable management of the Red-Thai Binh Rivers System in Vietnam through coordinated decision-making and negotiation, supported by modelling and optimization tools and through capacity building of local authorities in the water sector.

The Project is funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affair as part of its development cooperation program.


The Red-Thai Binh Rivers basin is the largest of Viet Nam. Despite the construction of several large-scale reservoirs (Hoa Binh, Thac Ba, Tuyen Quang and Son La), lack of coordination and inefficient operation of the reservoirs have resulted in frequent water shortages causing loss of agricultural production, interruptions to navigation, increased pollution and environmental degradation. Conflicts among water uses in the basin, including hydropower production, flood control and water supply, and negative impacts on long-term sustainability (e.g. hydrological alteration, river aggradation and salt intrusion) are expected to increase under the combined pressure of increasing water and energy demand, and climate change.


The goal of the IMRR project is to improve water management practice in the Red-Thai Binh Rivers system with the purpose of meeting Vietnamese society's long-term needs for water resources while maintaining essential ecological services and improving the economic benefits from hydropower production and agriculture.

Specifically, the project goals are:

  • to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and environmental sustainability of water management in the basin through advanced modelling tools and supporting stakeholders dialogue, coordination and negotiations;
  • to enhance capacity in water governance by favoring experience-sharing and the transfer of expertise, methodologies and tools to Viet Nam.
Development, Exploration
Water resource management is a key issue in the path toward sustainability, especially in a
fast-developing country like Vietnam, which relies on water resources for many economic activities.
Water availability can create conflicts between different users at various times and under a variety of conditions.
The main issues to be tackled and addressed by the project are:
- Improved handling of water allocation and distribution conflicts between the varying water
needs of private and public actors;
- Minimisation of economic losses (for agriculture and hydropower sectors), reduction of the
risk of flooding and enhancement of environmental quality through more effective and sustainable
water allocation and distribution.
The IMRR Project adopts a participatory approach which is intended to include all relevant
stakeholders in the planning process, thereby integrating distributed and field-specific expertise
at every stage in the project. The stakeholders represent diverse organisations: four different
Ministries (Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, Industry, Transport), the Central
Commission for Storms and Flood Control, the National Power Company, Provinces and Irrigation Districts, Vietnamese universities and research centres. The project aims not to provide a single, closed solution for water resource planning and management in the Red River basin but to equip Vietnamese institutions with tools and capacity. The integrated water management approach allows actors to share knowledge and information.


From 01/02/2012 to 31/03/2016
  • Leading organisation: Dipartimento di Elettronica, Informazione e Bioingegneria (DEIB) at Politecnico di Milano
  • Cooperation partners: Institute of Water Resources Planning (IWRP), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) in Vietnam

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