Work visit Viet Nam: possible expansion of Blue Dragon programme

In March, several Dutch experts from various water authorities once again visited Viet Nam for the Blue Dragon programme, as the Blue Deal partnership is known. An update on what they've been up to there.

GIS training

From March 11th to 13th, the first GIS training took place, which was a great success. Over 60 participants from all 12 provinces in the Mekong Delta attended. Hannes Versteegh led this training in collaboration with Can Tho University. The training will continue in May. The training is a project that was set up by the KIWI programme, the Dutch learning programme in which Versteegh is one of the participants.

Pilot nature-based solutions for dike reinforcement

Next, we visited a potential pilot project for dike reinforcement using nature-based solutions for a section of the dike heavily affected by river erosion. The dike is located in one of our partner provinces, Kien Giang. This province is also keen to take on this pilot. Currently, residents are using more or less makeshift constructions to prevent river erosion. We have been looking into local natural materials and vegetation to apply, as well as the possibility of involving the local population. For example, we are looking into using grasses or water hyacinth woven into mats to reinforce the riverbank. We then discussed with the province and Royal HaskoningDHV how we will jointly implement this pilot.

Final week of Asset Management, Maintenance & Operations training

From March 18 to 21, the final week of Asset Management, Maintenance & Operations training began with Robin de Bekker (from the Dutch water authority Drents Overijsselse Delta) and Marcel van Zutphen (from the Dutch water authority Vechtstromen). In addition to 20 participants from our 3 partner provinces, there were also 4 Dutch students attending who are currently undergoing a six-month internship at Can Tho University as part of their Water Management studies. On March 20, they visited a high-water protection sluice.

Further expansion of the partnership

During the same week, Birgitte de Kraker (from Dutch water authority De Dommel) and Tjeerd Dijkstra (from the Dutch water authority Vechtstromen) visited 3 new provinces to further expand the Blue Dragon Programme in the Mekong Delta. They also had discussions with current partners. The new provinces, An Giang, Vinh Long, and Soc Trang, are all enthusiastic about joining the Blue Dragon Programme. They have started the process of obtaining approval from the provincial People Committees.