The tenth dragon: controlled seasonal flooding in long-term policy plans for the Vietnamese Mekong delta
Staveren, M.F. van; Tatenhove, J.P.M. van; Warner, J.F. - \ 2018
Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning 20 (2018)3. - ISSN 1523-908X - p. 267 - 281.
controlled flooding - delta trajectory - long-term delta planning - Mekong delta - Vietnam
Recently the Vietnamese government has endorsed a long-term policy plan in which it is proposed to restore controlled seasonal flooding in the upper regions of the Vietnamese part of the Mekong delta. Restoring controlled flooding would contrast a period of several decades characterized by a dominant flood prevention approach to enable intensive rice production in the delta. This article investigates a series of long-term policy plans, which have been developed for the Mekong delta since the 1960s, on their take on flood control sensu flood prevention, or the opposite, controlled seasonal flooding. By doing so it is demonstrated how perspectives on flood management have gradually evolved and, in the specific case of suggesting controlled flooding, have been framed in various ways by various actors. Contemporary proposals for controlled seasonal flooding are supported by actors ranging from governmental institutes to environmental NGOs, and connect to on-going debates about environmental challenges and sustainable development of the Mekong delta. We adopt a systems approach to analyze social, environmental and technological dynamics in the Mekong delta, and discuss whether the different interpretations of controlled flooding may contribute to the long-term sustainability of the delta.
Hydraulic engineering in the social-ecological delta: understanding the interplay between social, ecological, and technological systems in the Dutch delta by means of “delta trajectories”
Staveren, M.F. van; Tatenhove, J.P.M. van - \ 2016
Ecology and Society 21 (2016)1. - ISSN 1708-3087 - 11 p.
adaptive delta management - delta trajectory - flood management - hydraulic engineering - path dependency - social-ecological systems - technological lock-in
Several of the world's largest deltas have recently been conceptualized as social-ecological delta systems. Although such conceptualizations are valuable in emphasizing complex interaction between social actors and ecological processes in deltas, they do not go into specific dynamics that surround technological developments in the hydraulic domain. By drawing from concepts originating
in socio-technical systems research, we stress the importance of technology, particularly the domain of hydraulic engineering, in shaping a delta’s future. Based on two geographically distinct cases of flood management infrastructure in the Dutch delta, we demonstrate the influence of existing hydraulic works, in mutual interaction with social responses and environmental processes, on the development of the congregated delta system over time. The delta trajectory concept is introduced as a way to understand the interplay between social, ecological, and technological systems in deltas. We discuss options to realign unsustainable pathways with more desirable ones. Adaptive delta management presents a policy environment where these messages may be picked up.