An enhanced, high-resolution global inventory of dams and artificial water impoundments.

Authors: Blake Walter*, Kansas State University, Jida Wang, Kansas State University, Fangfang Yao, Kansas State University
Topics: Water Resources and Hydrology
Keywords: hydrology, reservoirs, lakes, Landsat, dams, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), remote sensing
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Since the 1950s-60s, the world has seen a dramatic increase in artificial water impoundments in an unprecedented effort to eliminate spatial and temporal variations in water accessibility. Water supplies in some regions are already highly stressed in order to satisfy the ever-growing demand for agriculture, industrial, and domestic uses. With nearly 30% of the world’s population living in water scarce regions, an improved understanding of total stored surface water has never been more needed. Yet, a complete and spatially-explicit inventory of such storage capabilities is lacking worldwide. Using a recently completed high-resolution global waterbody mapping extracted from thousands of Landsat images and several open-source dam registries, we here aim to inventory dams and artificial reservoirs across the world. Geospatial analysis and novel programming techniques allowed for the consolidation of five dam datasets and the subsequent extraction of nearly 90,000 reservoirs. The results will expand our understanding of the spatial distribution of artificially impounded surface water and help quantify the amount of water readily available. This will inevitably lead to improved water budget management plans providing sustainable water supplies into the future.

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