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Human factors and tidal influences on water quality of an urban river in Can Tho, a major city of the Mekong Delta, Vietnam


In this study, we focused on water quality in an urban canal and the Mekong River in the city of Can Tho, a central municipality of the Mekong Delta region, southern Vietnam. Water temperature, pH, electrical conductivity, BOD5, CODCr, Na+, Cl, NH4 +−N, SO4 2−−S, NO3 −N, and NO2 −N for both canal and river, and tide level of the urban canal, were monitored once per month from May 2010 to April 2012. The urban canal is subject to severe anthropogenic contamination, owing to poor sewage treatment. In general, water quality in the canal exhibited strong tidal variation, poorer at lower tides and better at higher tides. Some anomalies were observed, with degraded water quality under some high-tide conditions. These were associated with flow from the upstream residential area. Therefore, it was concluded that water quality in the urban canal changed with a balance between dilution effects and extent of contaminant supply, both driven by tidal fluctuations in the Mekong River.

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We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Mr. Nguyen Dinh Giang Nam, Dr. Van Pham Dang Tri, Mr. Nguyen Van Tuyen, Dr. Nguyen Van Cong, and Ms. Huynh Vuong Thu Minh of the College of Environment and Natural Resources, Can Tho University. We also thank Dr. Furuichi Takahisa, Dr. Yoneda Kenichi, Ms. Imai Ai in the Education Program for Field-Oriented Leaders in Environmental Sectors in Asia and Africa (FOLENS), and Dr. Watanabe Izumi of the Department of Environmental Science on Biosphere of Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT) and Dr. Kawai Eiichi of Asia Science and Education for Economic Development (Asia SEED), for their great cooperation and suggestions for our local survey. Ms. Shimada Mizuho, Ms. Taya Aki, and Ms. Matsuda Mai of FOLENS, TUAT provided kind administrative assistance. This work was financially supported by a Special Coordination Fund for Promoting Science and Technology (currently, Science and Technology System Reform for the Implementation and Utilization of Outstanding Research), from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan.

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Correspondence to Hirokazu Ozaki.

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Ozaki, H., Co, T.K., Le, A.K. et al. Human factors and tidal influences on water quality of an urban river in Can Tho, a major city of the Mekong Delta, Vietnam. Environ Monit Assess 186, 845–858 (2014).

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  • Can Tho
  • Water quality of urban canal
  • Household effluent
  • Dilution effect
  • Flow direction