Global Reservoir and Dam Database (GRanD)

The Global Reservoir and Dam Database (GRanD) v1.1 is a product of the Global Water System Project, which initiated a collaborative international effort to collate existing dam and reservoir datasets with the aim of providing a single, geographically explicit and reliable database for the scientific community.

The initial version 1.1 of GRanD contains 6,862 records of reservoirs and their associated dams with a cumulative storage capacity of 6,197 km3. Data was assembled from numerous sources by eleven participating institutions, and the dataset is managed by McGill University. Though GRanD has undergone an update, GRanD v1.1 will remain available to support existing and future research.

GRanD v1.3 augments v1.1 with an additional 458 reservoirs and associated dams to bring the total number of records to 7320. Most of the added reservoirs were constructed between 2000 and 2016; global reservoir storage is increased by 666.5 km3. Updates have also been made to attribute data originally developed for GRanD v1.1; this includes a new column to indicate whether and when a dam has been removed. Access the data from our directory page.


Lehner, B., C. Reidy Liermann, C. Revenga, C. Vörösmarty, B. Fekete, P. Crouzet, P. Döll, M. Endejan, K. Frenken, J. Magome, C. Nilsson, J.C. Robertson, R. Rodel, N. Sindorf, and D. Wisser. 2011. High-resolution mapping of the world’s reservoirs and dams for sustainable river-flow management. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 9 (9): 494-502.

Selected Publications

GRanD is used to drive studies on reservoirs and river-flow management. The following publications showcase how GRanD can be used to facilitate a range of research on dams and rivers.

Latest publications

The contribution of reservoirs to global land surface water storage variations

Zhou and Nijssen 2015

Man-made reservoirs play a key role in the terrestrial water system. They alter water fluxes at the land surface and impact surface water storage through water management regulations for diverse purposes such as irrigation, municipal water supply, hydropower generation, and flood control. Although most developed countries have established sophisticated observing systems for many variables in the land surface water cycle, long-term and consistent records of reservoir storage are much more limited and not always shared.

Available at Journal of Hydrometeorology.

A model of water and sediment balance as determinants of relative sea level rise in contemporary and future deltas

Tessler et al. 2018

Modern deltas are dependent on human-mediated freshwater and sediment fluxes. Changes to these fluxes impact delta biogeophysical functioning and affect the long-term sustainability of these landscapes for human and for natural systems. Here we present contemporary estimates of long-term mean sediment balance and relative sea level rise across 46 global deltas. We model scenarios of contemporary and future water resource management schemes and hydropower infrastructure in upstream river basins to explore how changing sediment fluxes impact relative sea level rise in delta systems.

Hydrological threats to riparian wetlands of international importance – a global quantitative and qualitative analysis

Schneider et al. 2017

Riparian wetlands have been disappearing at an accelerating rate. Their ecological integrity as well as their vital ecosystem services for humankind depend on regular patterns of inundation and drying provided by natural flow regimes. However, river hydrology has been altered worldwide. Dams cause less variable flow regimes and water abstractions decrease the amount of flow so that ecologically important flood pulses are often reduced. Given growing population pressure and projected climate change, immediate action is required.

Available at Hydrology and Earth Systems Sciences.

Contributing Institutions

Including McGill, a number of institutions collaborated in the development of the GRanD database by providing dam data collections and participating in data cleaning efforts; these institutions are acknowledged below. It should be noted that these dam collections, in turn, used underlying information from a much wider range of sources, including a variety of regional and national inventories and gazetteers, publications, monographs and maps.