DDM - Dam and Dike Monitor in Vietnam

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The Dam and Dike Monitor (DDM)  is an innovative tool that aims at providing better information (in near real time) for dam and dike maintenance and flood management. An on-line interface is provided to the users showing the actual risks of dam and dike failures, based on dam and dike monitoring techniques and flood forecasting. As the Dam and Dike Monitor is internet based, there is no need to develop ad-hoc software and hardware infrastructure.

In this feasibility study, two services of the Dam And Dike Monitor are investigated: the Large Scale Map Services (LSMS) and the Risk Assessment and Monitoring System (RAMS). The LSMS provides regional maps for flood risk management to governmental agencies. The RAMS provides an integrated monitoring service on the risks of specific dam or dike locations for local operators.

In this feasibility study, the feasibility of the DDM in Vietnam is investigated. The feasibility study is carried out by a part of the Holland-Delta, the brand name of a group of innovative engineering companies and research institutes from the Netherlands, that are active in the field of Delta Technology.

Objectives of the service

The objective of the Feasibility Study is to investigate and assess  the technical feasibility and financial viability of a service that combines remote sensing, aerial platform and in-situ sensors to improve the monitoring of dam and dikes in Vietnam.  

Users and their needs

The following reference users and stakeholders support this study:

  • Centre of Water Management and Climate Change (WACC). The WACC is a part of Vietnam National University HCMC (VNU-HCM).
  • The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). Many interviews with MARD and its underlying departments were conducted in the last two years.
  • Central Project Office. The CPO implements projects on irrigation, drainage and water resources.
  • VIMECO which is a large company building and operating many dams in Vietnam.
  • Private Dam owners. A large part of the 6,000 dams in Vietnam are maintained by private owners.

Stakeholders in dam and dike safety in Vietnam require: 1) better technical understanding, 2) an overview on actual status, and 3) reliable forecasting.

For stakeholders it is important to have better technical understanding of measured parameters that indicate dam and dike safety, like internal water pressure, deformations and holes. They require measurement equipment, but they also require knowledge on its usage.

An overview on the current status of (multiple) dams and dikes currently lacks. On site monitoring equipment and Earth Observation sensors can provide the data. One information portal that summarizes the information can provide the overview.

Forecast of weather conditions, river water levels and flooded areas can help to predict potential risks. This is required for timely evacuation or other flood management actions. Also, this is needed for development of flood calamity plans.

Service/ system concept

The DDM aims at providing better information (in near-real time) for dam and dike maintenance and flood management. An internet portal will display for the dams and dikes under monitoring the following parameters:

  • Indication of weak dam and dikes (probability of breaches)
  • Prediction of  flood effects and impacts: damage and loss of lives due to weak dam and dikes
  • Planning for intensifying maintenance or undertake structural measures on high-risk locations (based on a risk assessment; probability x effects)
  • Information dissemination for flood disaster management: flood propagation over time, availability roads, evacuation routes, vulnerable objects such as hospitals

Space Added Value

Earth Observation sensors are used to create Digital Elevation Maps of large areas. Also, InSAR can be used to frequently measure deformation of dams and dikes. Real-time local measurements can be transmitted to a server using satellite communication. These measurements require positioning of their location, for a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) is used.

Product Benefits

Dam and Dike Monitor in Vietnam is expected to help the responsible of the dam and dike monitoring in:

  • ad-hoc design of structural protection,
  • improvement of spatial planning practices that are aiming at improving flood resilience and
  • improvement of flood disaster management. 

A strong information chain will lead to better operational and strategic decisions to reduce flood risks. This will reduce losses of life and economical damage. The current flood protection in Vietnam is primarily concerned with damage control and repair afterwards, with no flood prevention actions. It is expected that large improvements can be achieved by making the total system of damage control smarter by using new data which are near-real time monitoring. Decision makers and operational staff  can benefit from the new information only if the technology is applied in their operational working environment and if the new information are promptly communicated in an understandable way.

Product Features

The Dam and Dike Monitor will provide an internet interface showing the actual risks on dam and dike failures, based on dam and dike monitoring techniques and flood forecasting. The on-line interface will allow a quick overview over the health status of the monitored dikes and dams

As the Dam and Dike Monitor is an internet based product, it does not demand for a highly developed infrastructure in terms of hardware and software. It is therefore applicable in countries with poor infrastructure such as Vietnam. The internet portal  can be adopted in flood management centres in large cities or reservoir control rooms on small rural dams. It can even be used on portal devices, such as iPads. The information portal can also be expanded to other fields of water management, such as drought management, water demand and supply management and water quality management.

The Large Scale Map Services (LSMS) uses space assets to create maps services regarding flood risks on a regional scale, for national or provincial government agencies. Map services are provided for a region with multiple dams or dikes, for example like a province. Therefore, the end users will be governmental agencies that are responsible for this region. Also, the national government could be an end user, like the Dike Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). LSMS will  provide the following information, on a regional or national scale:

  • Deformation maps;
  • Elevation maps;
  • Land use maps;
  • Topographical maps;
  • Flood scenario maps;
  • Potential damages and casualties maps. 

The Risk Assessment and Monitoring Services (RAMS) are addressing the Dike Department of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) as a primary customer but consider also other customers as private dam owners. RAMS uses LSMS as an initial process block to determine the damage impact in case of a dike or dam failures. LSMS is an integral part of RAMS to determine potential regional locations for further monitoring. Infact, RAMS offers tailor-made monitoring solutions to support the Dike Department of MARD in Vietnam on the long-term maintenance of their water infrastructure.

Key Issues

Envisaged issues for the proposed solution in the operational stage are:

  • Unreliable internet connections may limit accessibility to the service.
  • Strict regulation of data rights may restrict cloud storage
  • There may be a lack of available high quality data
  • Costs of making measurements may not be cost-effective

Current Status

The Feasibility Study has been concluded in April 2015. The most significant achievements of the project are presented below.

The possible users and potential clients have been identified, of which the most important are the Vietnamese Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development (MARD) and the related Dike Department. In two dozen interviews with these possible users their needs and requirements have been discussed. These have been summarized in nine major User Requirements (UR).

During the feasibility study the concept of the Dam And Dike Monitor has been further elaborated. This resulted in the definition of two services: The Large Scale Map Services (LSMS) and the Risk Assessment and Monitoring Services (RAMS). For both these services prototypes have been developed. 

Both services have proven to be technically feasible. They include state-of-the-art technologies that have proven to be very useful for the safety of dams and dikes. A cost-benefit analysis has been performed to show the commercial potential of both services. 

Beside the necessary improvement of underlying technologies some non-technical constraints have been identified that need to be overcome for the services to become commercially viable:
- Obtaining commitment of the end user
- Finding a Vietnamese partner
- Getting third party funding

Status Date

Updated: 03 June 2015 - Created: 06 May 2014