Urban water management in Hanoi city Prospect and challenges

Water resource management for Hanoi city under the impact of urbanization and climate change - Prospects and challenges

Hanoi - the capital of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam - is one of the oldest cities in Southeast Asia. Its history spans several thousands of years l, and the city's formation and development are closely linked to the evolution of river and lake systems. Hanoi is spatially structured by water - in the form of the mighty Red River - Song Hong or Song Ca (Mother River) - and an extensive network of natural and man-made lakes. In Hanoi, ancient traditions of Feng Sui (the science of wind and water) placed special reverence on water bodies and their relationship to/ importance for/ meaning for settlements.
Historically, Hanoi's water paradigm served to (1) integrate different aspects of life and (2) to adapt to and to a certain degree accommodate the forces of nature. Today - in a period of economic liberalization and transition from tradition to modernity - water is often regarded from a singular and dominating perspective (be it political, technical or commercial). Considering the fact that both urbanization and climate change are increasing, water issues represent incredible challenges which Hanoi is already facing today.
This paper aims to give an overview of the challenges and prospects of water resource management in the context of urban development in Hanoi. In order to do this it will analyze current aspects of the city's urbanization that influence the water system, the impact of climatic changes on the city's environment and the feasibility of an integration of water management projects into the master plans for Hanoi.
First, the paper will review and analyze the history of Hanoi and processes of urbanization which include issues linked to urban development and environmental protection. In this context it will focus on conflicts and relationships between urban development and the environment, such as: population growth and migration, inadequate infrastructure capacity, land-fills, , the drastic transformation of the existing landscape, land speculation, encroachment along canals, rivers and lakes, loss of public space and an increased vulnerability to flooding...
Secondly, the paper will introduce water related planning projects in the plan for comprehensive urban development of Hanoi Capital up to 2020 - HAIDEP, JICA and in the master plan. These projects help us to realistically assess water resource planning and management for the current situation according to its effectiveness, capacity, feasibility, and shortages ...
In conclusion, water resource management is very crucial for achieving the vision of Hanoi as "The City of Culture - Water Surface - Greenery" and in order to ensure sustainable development. Urban planning policies and strategies limit negative impacts on the climate , improve people's awareness of issues connected to the management and preservation of water resources and are much needed in order to ensure a bright future for the city of Hanoi.

Mrs. Ta Quynh Hoa
Faculty of Architecture & Planning, National University of Civil Engineering (HUCE), Hanoi, Vietnam

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