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Global geography of basinwide trapping of suspended sediment flux by the large reservoirs.

Map description and dataset provided by: University of New Hampshire (UNH)

DescriptionSediment Trapping by Large Dams

A total of 236 regulated basins with 633 large reservoirs (> 0.5 km3 maximum storage capacity), which collectively represent about 70% of registered impoundment storage volume was used to estimate basinwide relative loss of suspended sediment destined for the world's oceans. For the purposes of display, the basins include both discharging and non-discharging portions of the land mass. A total of approximately 25-30% of pre-disturbance sediment flux is sequestered by modern impoundments, most built since 1950 (Vörösmarty et al. 2003, Syvitski et al. 2005).


The residence time of water in large reservoirs and subsequent sediment trapping efficiencies is calculated as a measure of the impact of these man-made structures on the characteristics of river flow and sediment discharge to the ocean. Estimations of water removed from basins as diversions (i.e., interbasin transfers and consumptive use) also provide information on the impacts of diversions on river flow and sediment transport.


The dataset for this map was provided by: Water Systems Analysis Group, University of New Hampshire (UNH)


This dataset was developed for the World Water Development Report II, Indicators for the World Water Assessment Program (http://wwdrii.sr.unh.edu/index.html) and in support of analysis outlined in Vörösmarty et al.; 2003 and Syvitski et al., 2005.


Please cite this map as: "GWSP Digital Water Atlas (2008). Map 51: Sediment Trapping by Large Dams (V1.0). Available online at http://atlas.gwsp.org."

Contact Information

Charles J. Vörösmarty, Water Systems Analysis Group, Complex System Research Center, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH USA 03824, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , Phone: +01.603.862.0850, Fax: +01.603.8

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