The DELTAS effort asserts that deltas can be transformed from hot spots of change and vulnerability to seedbeds of sustainability and resilience" [1]. The major research questions DELTAS looks to investigate include:

  • How do climate change, pressure on resources, and engineering/ infrastructure development make people, biodiversity, and delta ecosystems vulnerable?  
  • How is this vulnerability to be measured?  
  • How do delta areas absorb extreme events? What are the hydrological and ecological thresholds underlying the integrity of a delta region? 
  • What are the relevant local and regional hydrological, biophysical and social stressors for a particular delta system? How do these interact, and how do they vary spatially and over time? 
  • How can one reduce future risk while attaining sustainable development?  
We propose to answer the above questions using a research framework broken into four different components.  Click on each of the project components to learn more.
  • Delta-SRESAdvance sustainability science for deltas by developing a theoretical framework for assessing delta vulnerability and the possibility for transitions to undesired biophysical or socio-economic states under various scenarios of change.

  • Delta-RADSCo-develop, in close collaboration between scientists and stakeholders, an open-access, science-based, integrative modeling framework called the Delta Risk Assessment and Decision Support (RADS) Tool, which can operate at a regional level and provide a quantitative basis for investigating and comparing scenarios and trade-offs for decision making. 

  • Delta-DAT: Consolidate and make readily available relevant data on bio-physical, social, and economic parameters, which can be used by the community at large to assess critical parameters, compute vulnerability metrics, and provide input data to the Deltas-RADS modeling framework. 

  • Delta-GDVI: Develop Global Delta Vulnerability Indices that capture the current and projected physical-social-economic status of deltas around the world (“delta vulnerability profiles”). The GDVI is envisioned to be useful in identifying and supporting critical needs and priorities for research, funding, and action.

  • Delta-ACT: Work with regional teams and stakeholders to put the products of Delta-SRES, Delta-RADS. and Delta-DAT into action by demonstrating the implementation of the developed framework to three major deltas with diverse physical-social environments: the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM), Mekong, and Amazon deltas. 
Deltas exemplify the much talked about “global change, local solutions” paradigm The DELTAS project presents an opportunity to harness collaboration among a diverse team of international delta experts and local stakeholders toward delta sustainability – together we are prepared and committed to sustainable delta management.  
[1] Romero-Lankao, P., & Dodman, D. (2011) Cities in transition: Transforming urban centers from hotbeds of GHG emissions and vulnerability to seedbeds of sustainability and resilience, Current Opin. Environ. Sustainability, 3(3), 113–120, doi:10.1016/ j. cosust.2011.02.002.

Key components of the DELTAS project, whereby deltas are treated as fully coupled socio-ecological systems and scientist-stakeholder feedback is emphasized at all levels. Click image to zoom.