Establishing an empirical equation for the relationship between total suspended solids and total phosphorus concentrations in the downstream Red river water

Le Nhu Da, Le Thi Phuong Quynh, Phung Thi Xuan Binh, Duong Thi Thuy, Trinh Hoai Thu, Nguyen Thi Hai, Nguyen Thi Anh Huong


Recently, the Asian rivers have faced the strong reduction of riverine total suspended solids (TSS) flux due to numerous dam/reservoir impoundment. The Red river system is a typical example of the Southeast Asian rivers that has been strongly impacted by reservoir impoundment in both China and Vietnam, especially in the recent period. It is known that the reduction in total suspended solids may lead to the decrease of some associated elements, including nutrients (N, P, Si) which may affect coastal ecosystems. In this paper, we establish the empirical relationship between total suspended solids and total phosphorus concentrations in water environment of the Red river in its downstream section from Hanoi city to the Ba Lat estuary based on the sampling campaigns conducted in the dry and wet seasons in 2017, 2018 and 2019. The results show a clear relationship with significant coefficient between total suspended solids and total phosphorus in the downstream Red river. It is expressed by a simple equation y = 0.0226x0.3867 where x and y stand for total suspended solids and total phosphorus concentrations (mg/l) respectively with the r2 value of 0.757. This equation enables a reasonable prediction of total phosphorus concentrations of the downstream Red river when the observed data of total suspended solids concentrations are available. Thus, this work opens up the way for further studies on the calculation of the total phosphorus over longer timescales using daily available total suspended solids values.


Total suspended solids (TSS), total phosphorus (TP), water quality, Red river, Vietnam.

Full Text:



Meybeck, M., Chapman, D. V., and Helmer, R., 1989. Global environment monitoring: Global freshwater quality, a first assessment. Chapter, 7, 93–104.

Wall, G. J., Bos, A. W., and Marshall, A. H., 1996. The relationship between phosphorus and suspended sediment loads in Ontario watersheds. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 51(6), 504–507.

Wang, X., Ma, H., Li, R., Song, Z., and Wu, J., 2012. Seasonal fluxes and source variation of organic carbon transported by two major Chinese rivers: The Yellow river and Changjiang (Yangtze) river. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 26(2), GB2025. Doi: 10.1029/2011GB004130.

Ji, H., Cai, L., Ding, H., and Gao, Y., 2016. Source and flux of POC in a karstic area in the Changjiang river watershed: impacts of reservoirs and extreme drought. Biogeosciences, 13(12), 3687–3699. Doi:10.5194/bg-13-3687-2016.

Jarvie, H. P., Haygarth, P. M., Neal, C., Butler, P., Smith, B., Naden, P. S., Joynes, A., Wickham, H., Armstrong, L., Harman, S., and Palmer-Felgate, E. J., 2008. Stream water chemistry and quality along an upland-lowland rural land-use continuum, south west England. Journal of Hydrology, 350(3–4), 215–231. Doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2007.10.040.

Rodríguez‐Blanco, M. L., Taboada‐Castro, M. M., and Taboada‐Castro, M. T., 2010. Sediment and phosphorus loss in runoff from an agroforestry catchment, NW Spain. Land Degradation & Development, 21(2), 161–170.

Nguyen Duc Cu, Nguyen Duc Toan, Nguyen Van Phuc, Vu Duy Vinh, 2011. Impact of upstream dams on the nitrogen and phosphorus budget in water in the estuarine areas in the Northern coast. The 5th National Conference of Marine Science and Technology. Sub-Committee of Marine Geography, Geology and Geophysics, pp. 439–448.

Le, T. P. Q., Ho, T. C., Duong, T. T., Nguyen, T. B. N., Vu, D. A., Pham, Q. L., and Seidler, C., 2014. Water quality of the Red river system in the period 2012-2013. Journal of Vietnamese Environment, 6(3), 191–195.

Le, T. P. Q., Da Le, N., Dao, V. N., Rochelle-Newall, E., Nguyen, T. M. H., Marchand, C., Duong, T. T., and Phung, T. X. B., 2018. Change in carbon flux (1960–2015) of the Red River (Vietnam). Environmental Earth Sciences, 77(18), 658. DOI: 10.1007/s12665-018-7851-2.

Binh, P. T. X., Ha, H. T. T., and Thuy, D. T., 2018. Assessment of longitudinal variation of trophic levels of the Red river water, the section from Hanoi city to Ba Lat estuary. Vietnam Journal of Marine Science and Technology, 18(4), 452–459.

Ha, V. K., and Vu, T. M. H., 2012. Analysis of the effects of the reservoirs in the upstream Chinese section to the lower section flow of the Da and Thao rivers. J. Water Res. Environ. Eng., 38, 3–8.

APHA, 2012. Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater. 21st Edition. American Public Health Association, Washington D.C.

Eberlein, K., and Kattner, G., 1987. Automatic method for the determination of ortho-phosphate and total dissolved phosphorus in the marine environment. Fresenius’ Zeitschrift für analytische Chemie, 326(4), 354–357. 10.1007/BF00469784.

Le, T. P. Q., 2005. Biogeochemical functioning of the Red Rriver (North Vietnam): budgets and modelling. The Thesis of Pierre et Marie Curie University (France). Speciality: Biogeochemistry of hydrosystems PhD School: Geoscience and Natural Resources. 196 p.

Liu, J. P., Xue, Z., Ross, K., Wang, H. J., Yang, Z. S., Li, A. C., and Gao, S., 2009. Fate of sediments delivered to the sea by Asian large rivers: long-distance transport and formation of remote alongshore clinothems. The Sedimentary Record, 7(4), 4–9.

Milliman, J. D., and Farnsworth, K. L., 2013. River discharge to the coastal ocean: a global synthesis. Cambridge University Press. 392 p., ISBN 978-0-521-87987-3.

Pho, N. V., 1984. Streams in Vietnam. Sci. & Tech. Pub. House. Hanoi, 1–209.

Tong, Y., Zhao, Y., Zhen, G., Chi, J., Liu, X., Lu, Y., Wang, X., Yao, R., Chen, J., and Zhang, W., 2015. Nutrient loads flowing into coastal waters from the main rivers of China (2006–2012). Scientific Reports, 5, 16678. Doi: 10.1038/srep16678.

Nguyen, T. T., Nemery, J., Gratiot, N., Strady, E., Tran, V. Q., Nguyen, A. T., Aimé, J., and Peyne, A., 2019. Nutrient dynamics and eutrophication assessment in the tropical river system of Saigon–Dongnai (southern Vietnam). Science of the Total Environment, 653, 370–383.

Hoang, H. T. T., Duong, T. T., Nguyen, K. T., Le, Q. T. P., Luu, M. T. N., Trinh, D. A., Le, A. H., Ho, C. T., Dang, K. D., Némery, J., Orange, D., and Klein, J., 2018. Impact of anthropogenic activities on water quality and plankton communities in the Day river (Red River Delta, Vietnam). Environmental monitoring and assessment, 190(2), 67. DOI: 10.1007/s10661-017-6435-z.

Chen, C. T. A., 2000. The Three Gorges Dam: reducing the upwelling and thus productivity in the East China Sea. Geophysical Research Letters, 27(3), 381–383.

Lu, X. X., and Siew, R. Y., 2005. Water discharge and sediment flux changes in the Lower Mekong River. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 2, 2287–2325.

Kummu, M., and Varis, O., 2007. Sediment-related impacts due to upstream reservoir trapping, the Lower Mekong River. Geomorphology, 85(3–4), 275–293.

DOI: Display counter: Abstract : 157 views. PDF : 12 views.

Editorial Office:

Vietnam Journal of Marine Science and Technology

1st Floor, A16 Building, 18 Hoang Quoc Viet Street, Cau Giay District, Hanoi, Vietnam

Tel: (+84) 024 3791 7411