Hydropower dams, river drought and health effects: a detection and attribution study in the lower Mekong Delta Region

Phung, Dung and Nguyen-Huy, Thong ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2201-6666 and Tran, Ngoc Nguyen and Tran, Dang Ngoc and Doan, Van Quang and Nghiem, Son and Nguyen, Nga Huy and Nguyen, Trung Hieu and Bennett, Trude (2021) Hydropower dams, river drought and health effects: a detection and attribution study in the lower Mekong Delta Region. Climate Risk Management, 32:100280.

[img]
Preview
Text (Published Version)
1-s2.0-S2212096321000097-main.pdf
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (4MB) | Preview

Abstract

The upstream construction of hydropower dams may drastically intensify climate change impacts due to changing the natural river flood-drought cycle and reducing the amount of water that flows into the lower Mekong Delta river, leading to hydrological and environmental health impacts. However, until now the influence of drought on residents’ health in the lower MDR, where river drought is highly sensitive to recently built hydropower plants, has not been examined. The objectives of this study are, for the first time, to detect the health impacts of river drought on residents and to evaluate the contribution of hydropower dams to the impacts of drought on health in the lower Mekong Delta Region (MDR). We applied the multi-step approaches of a Detection and Attribution study. First, we detected the effects of the river drought on the risk of hospitalization using a Multivariable Fractional Polynomials algorithm (MFP). Second, we linked the long-term changes of the river water level (RWL) to the operation of the first hydropower dam in the upper MDR using the interrupted time-series model (ITS). Finally, we quantified the hospitalizations and related economic loss attributed to the river drought. The results show that the percentage changes in risk of all-cause, respiratory, and renal hospitalizations attributed to the river drought were 2%, 2%, and 7%. There were significant reductions in average level and trend of the RWL during the post-1995 period, when the first hydropower dam began operation in the upper MDR, even though the cumulative rainfall in the MDR had not changed. The all-cause hospitalizations attributed to the river drought were 1134 cases during the period 1995–2014, which resulted in total additional cost at two provincial hospitals of US $360,385. This current study demonstrates the link between hydropower dams, river drought, and health impacts. As the MDR is highly vulnerable to climate change, these findings about the devastating impacts of hydropower dams and environmental change have important implications for the lives of downstream residents.


Statistics for USQ ePrint 41082
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the CC BY license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment - Centre for Applied Climate Sciences (1 Aug 2018 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment - Centre for Applied Climate Sciences (1 Aug 2018 -)
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2021 01:12
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2021 01:12
Uncontrolled Keywords: climate change; river drought; hydropower dams; health impacts; hospitalized risk
Fields of Research (2008): 01 Mathematical Sciences > 0104 Statistics > 010401 Applied Statistics
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050204 Environmental Impact Assessment
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management
05 Environmental Sciences > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change
Fields of Research (2020): 33 BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN > 3399 Other built environment and design > 339999 Other built environment and design not elsewhere classified
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3702 Climate change science > 370299 Climate change science not elsewhere classified
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3707 Hydrology > 370799 Hydrology not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 20 HEALTH > 2099 Other health > 209999 Other health not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.crm.2021.100280
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/41082

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only