Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Building a better dam map: New database of reservoirs and dams for sustainable river-flow management

Date:
June 4, 2011
Source:
McGill University
Summary:
The culmination of a four-year collaboration by a team of scientists from around the globe has produced the Global Reservoir and Dam database (GRanD), a unique, geographically explicit, high-resolution global database of large dams and reservoirs.

The Global Reservoir and Dam database (GRanD) provides a unique, geographically explicit, high-resolution global database of large dams and reservoirs.
Credit: The Global Water System Project

Humans have been building reservoirs and dams for thousands of years. Over the past few decades, their construction has spiked as our need to harness water -- critical in flood control, irrigation, recreation, navigation and the creation of hydroelectric power -- has grown. And while dams and reservoirs have important benefits, they can also be disruptive and costly to both humans and the environment.

A close assessment of critical environmental and social tradeoffs associated with dams and reservoirs within the global river network has been impossible because the data describing their location, size and purpose have been incomplete and inadequate.

That is, until now.

The culmination of a four-year collaboration by a team of scientists from around the globe, coordinated by the Global Water System Project and led by McGill University's Bernhard Lehner, has produced the Global Reservoir and Dam database (GRanD), a unique, geographically explicit, high-resolution global database of large dams and reservoirs.

"Thorough continental assessments and ongoing sustainable dam management and planning haven't been possible due to a lack of data. We've only been able to look at dams on a case-by-case basis," explained Lehner. "The Three Gorges Dam, for example, has been heavily investigated, but no one ever included the 100-plus large dams upstream from it in a single impact assessment. Now we can look at all of them at the same time to figure out what the combined effect is. This gives us a holistic view of a whole river basin."

According to the paper published on May 31 in Frontiers in Ecology, GRanD currently contains information regarding 6,862 dams and their associated reservoirs with a total storage capacity of 6,197km3. Based on this figure, the authors estimate that about 16.7 million reservoirs larger than 0.01ha may exist worldwide. The team also found that nearly 50 per cent of large rivers -- that is, those with an average flow of more than 1000m3 per second -- are affected by large dams and reservoirs worldwide. GRanD data includes (in most cases) the dam and reservoir names, spatial co-ordinates, construction year, surface area, storage capacity, dam height main purpose and elevation.

GRanD is freely available for non-commercial use at www.gwsp.org/85.html


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by McGill University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

McGill University. "Building a better dam map: New database of reservoirs and dams for sustainable river-flow management." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110602102447.htm>.
McGill University. (2011, June 4). Building a better dam map: New database of reservoirs and dams for sustainable river-flow management. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110602102447.htm
McGill University. "Building a better dam map: New database of reservoirs and dams for sustainable river-flow management." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110602102447.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) Celebrities, political leaders and the masses rallied in New York and across the globe demanding urgent action on climate change, with organizers saying 600,000 people hit the streets. Duration: 01:19 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
French FM Urges 'powerful' Response to Global Warming

French FM Urges 'powerful' Response to Global Warming

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Monday warned about the potential "catastrophe" if global warming was not dealt with in a "powerful" way. Duration: 01:08 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ongoing Drought, Fighting Put Somalia at Risk of Famine

Ongoing Drought, Fighting Put Somalia at Risk of Famine

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) After a year of poor rains and heavy fighting Somalia is again at risk of famine, just three years after food shortages killed 260,000 people. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) The Rockefellers — heirs to an oil fortune that made the family name a symbol of American wealth — are switching from fossil fuels to clean energy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins