Call edition 2012

A new edition of the Prize of the Belgian Development Cooperation has been launched. This call is open until March 31st, 2011. You can read in the regulations whether you comply with the criteria for participation.

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Hydrogeological characterization and groundwater protection of tropical mountainous karst areas in NW Vietnam

Vu Thi Minh NGUYET researcher laureate

°1972 Vietnam
Bachelor in Geology, Hanoi University, Vietnam, 1994

Hydrogeological characterization and groundwater protection of tropical mountainous karst areas in NW Vietnam

Around 18% of north-western Vietnam is made up of karst mountains. These are mountains where the bedrock consists chiefly of soluble limestone. They are of great economic importance for groundwater extraction, agriculture and tourism and because of their diversified forests. However, pollution resulting from increasing urbanization, population pressure and economic development threatens these groundwater reserves.
Vu Thi Minh Nguyet is the first to have used different methods (chemical methods, isotopes, tracer techniques, etc.) to characterize groundwater layers in a tropical karst area (in western Vietnam). The results of this experimental work not only contribute to the better understanding of the hydrology of these remote areas but also provide a scientific basis for the protection and sustainable management of groundwater reserves. As a matter of fact, they make it possible to assess the impact of various sources of pollution (agriculture, bacterial contamination caused by domestic effluent).
The work is highly relevant to development because it has allowed the formulation of a number of specific recommendations for the sustainable management of the ecosystem and of water reserves in particular. This is an essential component of programmes aimed at improving public health in these karst mountains, which are among the poorest regions in Vietnam.
Having returned to Vietnam, Nguyet is continuing her work on the same subject. In doing so she adds significantly to the research capacity of the “Karst Research Centre” of the RIGMR (Research Institute of Geology and Mineral Resources) in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Because of the generic character of her work, Nguyet’s research will not only benefit other projects in Vietnam but also in other parts of the world where there are similar tropical karst mountains.
Vu Thi Minh Nguyet has written three articles about her work in journals and has presented papers at several conferences.

Report: Prof. J. Berlamont, Hydraulics Laboratory, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium