About us

Global Dam Watch brings together a global consortium of organisations with an interest in open access data and information related to dams

Global Dam Watch aims to maintain the world’s most comprehensive and freely available global dam data and tools. This site provides information on the location and characteristics of dam, reservoir, and river barrier datasets at global and regional scales. Data of this nature enables a wide range of groundbreaking new studies related to the social and environmental benefits and risks of large-scale dam construction and operation and supports better decision-making and policy development.

The lack of a consistent and regularly updated global dam datasets is a barrier for understanding the benefits, impacts and dependencies associated with dams, tracking the status of river health over time, and measuring progress towards global social and environmental goals. There are likely millions of dams and reservoirs on the planet, but despite efforts by individual groups, only a small proportion of them have been mapped and even fewer have open access attribute data.

Global Dam Watch was initiated by leading academic institutions and NGOs that are working together to fill this critical gap. Existing data are compiled, cleaned, and curated, and new data are being collected using a variety of innovative methods, from citizen science to remote sensing and machine learning. Global Dam Watch harmonizes these different approaches to create consistent, high quality dam data at the global scale.

Our intention is to grow the initial group of team members, partners, and supporters. If you are interested to participate reach out via our contact page.

Core GDW team:

Department of Geography, King’s College London

McGill University

Tübingen University

World Wildlife Fund

European Commission’s Joint Research Centre

Partners, sponsors and supporters:

The Nature Conservancy

Conservation International

Amber International

World Resources Institute

UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre

GDW interns and volunteers:

  • Elise Devine

  • Jade Clark

  • Amnique Sidhu

  • Mariyah Alikhan

  • Li Xinyu

  • Chun Ho Cheng

GDW collaborators:

  • Penny Beames

  • Jonathan Higgins

  • Stephanie R Januchowski-Hartley

  • Kate A Brauman

  • Luca De Felice

  • Qingke Wen

  • Carlos Garcia de Leaniz

  • Barbara Belletti

  • Lisa Mandle

  • Xiao Yang

  • Nick Mazany-Wright