Risk of eutrophication in the Saigon River : Impacts of the Ho Chi Minh Megacity (Vietnam)

Abstract : The Saigon River, a part of Saigon – Dongnai River basin located in Southern Vietnam, is about 250 km long with a catchment area of 4,717 km2. The Dau Tieng reservoir in the upstream of the Saigon River has been constructed for irrigation, flood protection purposes and the control of the intrusion of saline water. When flowing through HCMC, Saigon River is connected with canals and then joins Dongnai River to become the Nha Be River flowing through Can Gio Mangrove to the East Sea. Draining a low elevation coastal zone (LECZ), Saigon River is affected by the asymmetric semi-diurnal tides.The general goal of this thesis is to (i) assess trophic status in the Saigon – Dongnai River, (ii) assess the processes that lead nutrient behavior in the salinity gradient to estimate retention capacity with respect to the nutrients fluxes and (iii) calculate nutrient budgets to further be used for numerical simulations.The first step of this thesis consisted in a survey of nutrient concentrations (N, P, Si) at four sampling sites within the Saigon – Dongnai River system, which was carried out bi-monthly from July 2015 to December 2017, allowing to quantify the levels of nutrient concentrations and of indicators of eutrophication. This thesis pointed out an excess of nutrients in HCMC with concentrations of NH4+ and PO43- averaging to 0.7 mgN L-1 and 0.07 mgP L-1, respectively. We observed that untreated domestic discharges lead to the degradation of Saigon River’s water quality with extreme value of algal biomass (up 150 µChl-a L-1) and hypoxia conditions occurring episodically (DO < 2 mg L-1) during dry season. The eutrophic issue in the city center has no clear effect downstream because eutrophic water mass from Saigon River is efficiently mixed with Dongnai and sea water masses during the semi-diurnal tidal cycle, leading to efficient metabolism of nutrients within the estuarine partBased on field and laboratory surveys, we assessed the eutrophication of the river, and investigated P adsorption-desorption capacity onto suspended sediment (SS) within the salinity gradient. Field surveys showed a clear impact of the megacity, total P increasing three fold in HCMC center, as compared with upstream values. Downstream, in the tidally mixed estuarine area, the total P lowered to less than 0.5 gP kg-1. Laboratory experiments were carried out to characterize the influence of SS concentrations, salinity and turbulence on sorption/desorption processes. Among these observed variables, SS concentration was shown to be the main driver for adsorption capacity of P onto SS in salinity gradient. This underlines the role of cohesive sediment dynamics, as an important driver of nutrient dynamic in this estuarine river system.In this thesis, we analyzed the nutrients, suspended sediments and water discharges database from the Vietnamese Center of Monitoring of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (period 2012 to 2016). Nine sites along the Saigon River and one site in the Dongnai River were used to identify the reference water status before HCMC and the increasing fluxes from upstream to downstream. The calculated fluxes allow drawing a first sediment and nutrients budget at the scale of the Saigon – Dongnai Rivers and discussing the contribution of each sub basins to the total fluxes to the estuarine and coastal zones. Add one sentence pointing out the main result of this 2005-2016 dataseries analysis.
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Thi Ngoc Tuyet Nguyen. Risk of eutrophication in the Saigon River : Impacts of the Ho Chi Minh Megacity (Vietnam). Environmental and Society. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018GREAU049⟩. ⟨tel-02146069⟩

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