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On 12th October 2023, in Can Tho City, the Mekong Delta Climate Resilience Programme (MCRP) organized a workshop on “Sponge City and Selection of Research and Application Locations”. The workshop was joined by representatives from the Agency of Technical Infrastructure (Ministry of Construction), Departments of Construction of Can Tho City, Bac Lieu, Soc Trang, Hau Giang and Ca Mau Provinces, along with Chairpersons of People’s Committees Bac Lieu City, Soc Trang City, Ca Mau City, Cai Rang Disctrict (Can Tho), Long My Town (Hau Giang), and experts from ECOPSIS (Switzerland).

During the workshop, the concept of Sponge City, its benefits, and solutions for urban land use planning and management, as well as the development of urban technical infrastructure, were introduced by the MCRP project. Participants engaged in in-depth discussions and reached a consensus on the criteria for selecting cities or catchment areas for researching and implementing the Sponge City model. Based on the guidelines provided by MCRP and ECOPSIS experts, representatives from Departments of Construction of participated cities/provinces also proposed locations for research and application of Sponge City Model in their localities.

As per the project’s implementation plan, during the period from 2023 to 2025, the MCRP commits to providing further support for the application of three pilot drainage and flood prevention infrastructure project using the Sponge City Approach in the Mekong Delta.

The “Sponge City” concept refers to a combination of multiple ecosystem-based solutions which aims to enhance rainwater management capabilities of urban areas. They include the installation of waterways, green spaces, wall and rooftop gardens, permeable pavements, etc., all of which improve the rate at which rainwater is infiltrated, stagnated, stored, purified, discharged, or used, thus mitigating the risk of urban flooding.