ADB IHE Delft Knowledge Partnership
Asian Development Bank - IHE Delft

Groundwater Management Coastal areas

Coastal areas in Southeast Asian countries are densely populated and rapidly urbanizing. Many of the world's megacities (>10 million people) are located in the coastal areas of Southeast Asia, such as Tianjin, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, and Metro Cebu. Groundwater has been an important source of water supply for municipal and domestic, irrigation and industrial uses in the area. All these cities have suffered from groundwater mismanagement.

Common issues

  • Groundwater depletion due to overexploitation;
  • Groundwater pollution (primarily from indiscriminate disposal of untreated wastewater, solid wastes and chemicals, and diffusive pollution from agricultural activities);
  • Land subsidence caused by intensive groundwater abstraction;
  • Seawater intrusion induced by groundwater abstraction.


The objective of the project is to develop sustainable groundwater management strategies for the Southeast Asian countries through a comparative research. The project connects international and regional knowledge institutes to national water authorities to develop local solutions particularly giving more emphasis to already proven and easy-to-follow measures to solve the problems. 

Specific objectives of the project are:

  • Systematic review of the state of problems and investigation of possible causes of the problems of groundwater development and management in coastal areas;
  • Identification of best measures (structural and no-structural) to control groundwater problems;
  • Development of site specific groundwater sustainability index and its application to assess the sustainability of groundwater use;
  • Design of integrated groundwater monitoring networks (quantity, quality, and land subsidence) in the coastal aquifers with active involvement of local stakeholders;
  • Development of adaptation strategies for climate change impacts;
  • Policy recommendations for sustainable use of groundwater resources;
  • Creation of a comprehensive groundwater knowledge base and its sharing through the Groundwater Knowledge Hub and its network partners.

Project duration

The project has a duration of two years (from October 2012 to October 2014)

Project activities


China, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam. Five case studies are conducted:

  1. Saltwater intrusion in Laizhou Bay of China by Tianjin Geological Survey of China;
  2. Land subsidence in Cangzhou City by China Institute for Geo-environmental Monitoring of China;
  3. Seawater intrusion in great Jakarta area by Geological Agency of Indonesia;
  4. Seawater intrusion in Metro Cebu area by Water Resources Center of Cebu, Philippines;
  5. Groundwater depletion in Mekong Delta by  Division for Water Resources Planning and Investigation for South Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Figures 1 and 2 illustrate groundwater salinity problems caused by seawater intrusion in Metro Cebu and Jakarta areas. Figures 3 and 4 show continuous decline of groundwater levels in Mekong Delta and Laizhou Bay areas. For all case studies, groundwater models are developed to identify causes of groundwater depletion, saltwater intrusion, and land subsidence. The models will be further used to simulate effects of proposed control measures (scenarios).


Knowledge institutes

UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Delft, The Netherlands
IGES Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Hayama, Japan
AIT Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand
CCOP Coordinating Committee for Geoscience Programmes in East and Southeast Asia, Bangkok, Thailand

Country clients

Tianjin Center of Geological Survey, China Geological Survey, Tianjin, China
Division for Water Resources Planning and Investigation for South Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Water Resources Knowledge Center, Metro Cebu, Philippines
Geological Agency, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Indonesia

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