Impacts of a saline water control project on aquaculture livelihoods in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta

Thu Trang Thi Ngo, Hong Quan Nguyen, Timothy Gorman, Quang Ngo Xuan, Phuong Lan Thi Ngo, Ann Vanreusel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Drought and salinity intrusion aggravated by climate change threaten agricultural livelihoods in Viet Nan's Mekong Delta. In response, authorities have built water management infrastructure for irrigation and salinity protection. This study assessed the impact of one such project, the Ba Lai dam in Ben Tre province, on the livelihoods of aquaculture farmers. Design/methodology/approach: This study uses the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework to assess the impact of the Ba Lai dam on the livelihood capitals of 18 farming households in four communes, located both upstream and downstream of the dam. Findings: The authors find that, apart from some positive effects, the dam has also brought negative environmental consequences, such as increased water pollution. The authors also find that farmers have responded to the changes by adapting their livelihood practices. Research limitations/implications: The samples were relatively small, encompassing four communes in Ben Tre province. On the other hand, this case study is instructive to the many ongoing infrastructure projects in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta. Social implications: The project have caused an increase in water-related social conflict. Originality/value: The case of the Ba Lai dam provides a cautionary example for infrastructure-based water management plans, both in Viet Nam and more broadly. The study suggests the need to strengthen community participation and prioritize impacts of farmers' capital assets when constructing water management infrastructure for climate change adaptation.


  • Infrastructure
  • Saline intrusion
  • Sustainable livelihoods
  • Vietnamese Mekong delta
  • Water management


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