The Red River system is the second largest river system in Vietnam. The Red River is an international river which originates in China and runs through Laos and Vietnam before flowing into the East Sea. The total area of the entire river basin is approximately 169,020 km2, including 81,240 km2 (or 48%) in Chinas territory, 1,100km2 (0.65%) in Laos’ territory and 86,660km2 (51.35%) in Vietnam’s territory.
Administratively, the Red River basin covers 26 provinces and cities in the north region of Vietnam, including the cities of Hanoi and Hai Phong, and provinces of Ha Tay, Ha Nam, Nam Dinh, Ninh Binh, Hai Duong, Hung Yen, Thai Binh, Bac Kan, Bac Ninh, Bac Giang, Vinh Phuc, Phu Tho, Thai Nguyen, Tuyen Quang, Ha Giang, Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Lai Chau, Son La, Hoa Binh, Cao Bang, Lang Son, Quang Ninh, and Dien Bien. The population living within the basin footprint is estimated to be in the order of 28 million people (in 2002).
Land resources: the total natural area covered by the basin is approximately 86,660km2. Agricultural lands cover approximately 1,874,100 ha in which cultivated lands cover 1,463,000 ha (the area covered by paddy and upland crops is approximately 1,031,000 ha). Forestry lands occupy 2,570,775 ha in which forested lands are 2,101,000 ha. Potential areas for future agricultural and forestry development include 3,919,500ha.
- Surface water: the total average annual runoff in the Red River is aproximately 133.68 billion m3, of which nearly 40% originates from outside of Vietnam. Flows through the river basin are also unevenly distributed in space and time typically causing water shortages in the dry season and floods and water-logging in the rainy season.
- Groundwater: Total groundwater reserves in Vietnam’s territory are 18.219 billion m3 (equivalent to a flow of 577.4 m3/s)