Oxford Hydrology Group meeting

Impact of dams and climate change on suspended sediment flux to the Mekong delta

16 October 2020

11:30-12:30 British time

Speaker: Dr Giamba Bussi

Abstract:  The livelihoods of millions of people living in the world’s deltas are deeply interconnected with the sediment dynamics of these deltas. In particular a sustainable supply of fluvial sediments from upstream is critical for ensuring the fertility of delta soils and for promoting sediment deposition that can offset rising sea levels. Yet, in many large river catchments this supply of sediment is being threatened by the planned construction of large dams. In this presentation, Giamba Bussi will show the findings of a recent modelling study on the sediment transport of the Mekong River in South East Asia. The aim of the study was to assess the impact of several large dams (both existing and planned) on the suspended sediment fluxes of the river. The INCA hydrological and sediment model was used, coupled to a climate model, to assess the interplay of changing climate and sediment trapping caused by dam construction. The results show that historical sediment flux declines are mostly caused by dams built in PR China and that sediment trapping will increase in the future due to the construction of new dams in PDR Lao and Cambodia. If all dams that are currently planned for the next two decades are built, they will induce a decline of suspended sediment flux of around 50% compared to current levels, with potentially damaging consequences for local livelihoods and ecosystems.


About OHG

The Oxford Hydrology Group is an enthusiastic group of students and staff members based at the University of Oxford with a shared passion around hydrology. Through weekly meetings, OHG seeks to share our knowledge and understanding among  members and keep up-to-date with all the latest developments in the field of hydrology. Our interests stretch from evapotranspiration in the Congo Basin to Earth observation and fluvial geomorphology to the impact of dams.

This group is open to anyone at the University of Oxford who is interested in doing something water related. OHG is keen on interdisciplinary work and so is not limited to hydrologists!

For details to join the meeting and to be added to the mailing list, please contact the organiser, Marcus Buechel.


Oct 16 2020


11:30 - 12:30


Marcus Buechel
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