Resilient Urban Centres and Surrounds (RUCaS)

Nong Loup Ian Marsh
Vientiane, Lao PDR


Canals in the downtown area of Vientiane


Canal in Vientiane


Canal linear Park field survey map

The vision of this case study is to protect and enhance the values of existing wetlands in Vientiane.

Located along the Mekong River, Vientiane is built across a number of streams and wetland systems that historically played a significant role in draining micro catchments. Many of the city's wetlands have been infilled or reduced in size with urban sprawl and encroachment. The city has grown without separated sewer and stormwater, putting extra pressure on the remaining wetlands and streams. Like many other Mekong cities, Vientiane is experiencing more intense hot weather, and the preference for hard grey infrastructure (such as the riverfront dyke and expansion of paved roads and plazas) is extending the heat island effect.  

The Nong Loup Ian marsh and stream system in the city’s west is largely still intact. The wetland supports fishing and agriculture, and is shared by 3 villages around its edges. At present, infill is limited, the upper catchment has large tracts of forested land, but pressure on the area is growing.

The RUCaS team is working with the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), the Department of Urban Planning and Housing and Vientiane Capital authorities, to provide technical options on the GGGI project being developed under the NATURA program.

The case study explores options for retaining and enhancing the wetland, including:

  • introducing a mixed use zoning approach
  • adding retention capacity
  • adding treatment wetland to separate greywater and blackwater inflows
  • expanding productive use of the wetland to support local enterprise and livelihood activities.

What does a Water Sensitive City look like?

The CRCWSC has produced research, guidelines and
tools related to the following topics:

Integrated Urban Flood

Climate change


Economics and
business case

Flood resilience
Green Infrastructure
Urban heat