Canals in the Mekong Delta: A Historical Overview from 200 C.E. to the Present
Water History and Culture
Published Online: 15 APR 2005
Copyright © 2005 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
How to Cite
Biggs, D. 2005. Canals in the Mekong Delta: A Historical Overview from 200 C.E. to the Present. Water Encyclopedia. 4:748–752.
- Published Online: 15 APR 2005
The Mekong Delta is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world. It supports more than 20 million people living in a dense network of canals and creeks that today irrigate more than 2 million hectares of rice paddy. This landscape of dense settlement and intensive irrigated agriculture is relatively recent, although the earliest canal projects date to “Fu Nan” or Oc Eo culture circa 200 c.e. Today's water regime is not so much a single water system as it is a landscape built of multiple layers of canals in various stages of development and degradation. Some waterways continue to serve as primary transportation and irrigation works: others lie abandoned, their traces sometimes only visible through analysis of aerial photography or historical reports. This overview describes these historical layers of canalization and the context for some of the major projects in each period.
- Mekong Delta;
- hydraulic engineering;
- rice agriculture;
- flood plains;
- acid sulfate;
- Fu Nan;