Hydro-geochemical characteristics of the groundwater resources in the southern part of the Red River’s Delta plain, Vietnam

  • Hoan V. HoangEmail author
  • Lam V. Nguyen
  • Nhan D. Dang
  • Frank Wagner
  • Nhan Q. Pham
Original Article


In this study, the origin and recharge areas as well as the chemistry of the groundwater in the southern part of the Red River Delta plain, in Thai Binh, Nam Dinh and Ninh Binh provinces (North Vietnam) was investigated by using isotopic techniques combined with geochemical analysis. Groundwaters under the study were those that are available in the Holocene, Pleistocene, Neogene and Triassic aquifers. Groundwater in the Holocene aquifer is brackish of Na–Cl type with an electric conductivity as high as up to 6000 µS cm−1. The water in the shallow aquifer comprises three end-members: the local precipitation, Red River’s water and intruded seawater. Groundwater in the Pleistocene, Neogene and Triassic aquifers in the Southwest of the study region is fresh containing less than 1 g L−1 of total dissolved solids and is characterized by the Ca–Na–HCO3 type. However, groundwater in the deep aquifers in the Northeast area is brackish of Na–Ca–Cl–HCO3 ion type containing more than 1 g L−1 TDS. The chemistry of groundwater in the study region is controlled by three processes, namely the incongruent dissolution of the biogenic high Mg-calcite, the reduction of sulphate and iron oxyhydroxide with organic matters present in the aquifers. The salinity in deep aquifers in the NE was attributed to the diffusion of saline pore water from aquifer or/and aquitard deposits to the recharge water. Groundwater in the Pleistocene, Neogene and Triassic aquifers in the study region seem to have meteoric origin with long traveling time and it mixed with the saline pore water that migrated from the aquifers sediments, as it was evident from the water isotopic compositions. The isotopic compositions of water (δ2H and δ18O) in the Neogene and Triassic aquifers are similar to that found in the Pleistocene aquifer suggesting the aquifers are hydraulically connected to each other due to the over-extraction rate of fresh water from the latter aquifer. Recharge area of groundwater in the Pleistocene and Neogene aquifers is suggested to be from the NW extension of the region and out crops at a highland at an altitude of 140–160-m above sea level (masl). The recharge water flows from northwesterly towards southeasterly to the sea coast. The results of the 14C-dating for groundwater combined with the hydraulic heads distribution in the deep aquifers revealed that the saline groundwater is flowing from the NE and backwards from the sea side to the production well field in the center of the region due to the high rate of groundwater mining. In order to mitigate the saltwater intrusion and avoid deterioration of the quality of the groundwater that is currently being mined and supplied to the local population, it needs to develop and implement an appropriate strategy for the groundwater resource management in the region.


Saltwater intrusion Isotopic composition 14C-dating Red River’s Delta Vietnam 



This research is funded by the Vietnam National Foundation for Science and Technology Development (NAFOSTED) under Grant number 105.99-2014.19. The authors would like to express their sincere thanks to anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and review of the manuscript.

Supplementary material

12665_2018_7857_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (30 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 29 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hoan V. Hoang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lam V. Nguyen
    • 1
  • Nhan D. Dang
    • 2
  • Frank Wagner
    • 3
  • Nhan Q. Pham
    • 4
  1. 1.Hanoi University of Mining and GeologyHanoiVietnam
  2. 2.Vietnam Association of HydrogeologyHanoiVietnam
  3. 3.Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR)HannoverGermany
  4. 4.Hanoi University of Natural Resources and EnvironmentHanoiVietnam

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