Residence Time Change
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This dataset shows the changes in the apparent water age in major rivers induced by the operation of large reservoirs.

Map description and dataset provided by: Complex Systems Research Center (CSRC)

DescriptionResidence Time Change

The change in the residence time (in days) were computed as the differences between modelled residence time under natural conditions and residence time taking into account the operation of reservoirs using a macroscale hydrological model.


Vörösmarty et. al. (1997) introduced the concept of river water aging, related to residency time change of river flow through artificial impoundments, to illustrate the impact of the construction of reservoirs on discharge. It must not be confused with the true ‘age’ of water molecules that can be determined, for example, using tracer hydrological methods.


The dataset for this map was provided by: Dominik Wisser, Complex Systems Research Center (CSRC)


The aging of water in its passage to the oceans reflects disturbance in of the natural water cycle and determines a number of direct and indirect changes in the physical, biogeochemical, and geomorphological processes, such as hydrograph distortion, reaearation capacity, sediment trapping efficiency


Please cite this map as: "GWSP Digital Water Atlas (2008). Map 75: Residence Time Change (V1.0). Available online at"

Contact Information

Dominik Wisser ( This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it )