Catalyzing action towards sustainability of deltaic systems with an integrated modelling framework for risk assessment (DELTAS)

Funded Project Information
Coastal Vulnerability
NSF code 
Lead PI: 
Lead PI Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, Regents of the University of Minnesota
Kazi Matin Ahmed, University of Dhaka*
Edward Anthony, Aix-Marseille University
Eduardo Brondizio, Indiana University
Marcel Marchand, Deltares*
Marc Goichot, World Wide Fund for Nature*
Steven Goodbred, Vanderbilt University
Ian James Harrison, International Union for the Conservation of Nature
Jonathan Michael Hutton, United Nations Environment Programme
Zoe Matthews, University of Southampton
Van Lap Nguyen, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology*
Irina Overeem, University of Colorado
Ramesh Ramachandran, Anna University
Fabrice Renaud, United Nations University
Yoshiki Saito, Geological Survey of Japan, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology
Md. Munsur Rahman, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology*
Alice Newton, Norwegian Institute for Air Research*
Gwyn Lintern, Natural Resources Canada*
Philippe Van Cappellen, University of Waterloo*
Shu Gao, Nanjing University*
Stefan Dech, University of Wuerzburg
Charles Vorosmarty, City College of New York
Sandra Costa, University of Vale do Paraíba
Rob Nicholls, Angela Baschieri and John Dearing, University of Southampton
* partners bringing their own funding/in-kind support




Time period: 
36 months

Deltas are economic and environmental hotspots, food baskets for many nations, and home to a large portion of the world population. They sustain rich, biodiverse ecosystems and related services. Most deltas are also international and regional transportation hubs that support intense economic activity. Yet, deltas are deteriorating at an alarming rate due to climate impacts (e.g., sea level rise and flooding), human-induced catchment changes (e.g., water and sediment flow reduction), and local exploitation (e.g., sand, groundwater, and hydrocarbon extraction). The international science community recognizes the need to develop a solid knowledge base for protecting these vulnerable coastal systems, and this BF initiative leads the way by coordinating and enhancing innovative international work towards the development of a science-based framework for delta sustainability.

The project will develop a versatile modeling framework that may be applied from local to national levels to evaluate the unique functioning, critical stressors, and vulnerability of the world’s deltas. The framework will ingest social, economic, physical and ecosystem data into an open-access repository and will allow planners to model and deliver optimized, viable solutions for their region. In areas for which detailed data are sparse, an infrastructure for critical data gathering will be developed and modeling and prediction tools will be customized. The framework will initially be applied to three case-studies for which local and regional partnerships are already in place, including the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM), Mekong, and Amazon deltas.

The team represents the BF-G8 countries: Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Norway, India, Japan, UK, and USA, and includes partners in the Netherlands, Vietnam, and Bangladesh. It is composed of government and university researchers, and NGO’s, working closely with policymakers.

The training of graduate students and post-docs able to work across disciplinary boundaries and
countries will also be a unique legacy of the project.

Project website: