A comprehensive geospatial database of nearly 100 000 reservoirs in China

Chunqiao Song, Chenyu Fan, Jingying Zhu, Jida Wang, Yongwei Sheng, Kai Liu, Tan Chen, Pengfei Zhan, Shuangxiao Luo, Chunyu Yuan, Linghong Ke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With rapid population growth and socioeconomic development over the last century, a great number of dams/reservoirs have been constructed globally to meet various needs. China has strong economical and societal demands for constructing dams and reservoirs. The official statistics reported more than 98 000 dams/reservoirs in China, including nearly 40 % of the world's largest dams. Despite the availability of several global-scale dam/reservoir databases (e.g., the Global Reservoir and Dam database (GRanD), the GlObal geOreferenced Database of Dams (GOODD), and the Georeferenced global Dams And Reservoirs (GeoDAR)), these databases have insufficient coverage of the reservoirs in China, especially for small or newly constructed ones. The lack of reservoir information impedes the estimation of water budgets and the evaluation of dam impacts on hydrologic and nutrient fluxes for China and its downstream countries. Therefore, we presented the China Reservoir Dataset (CRD), which contains 97 435 reservoir polygons and fundamental attribute information (e.g., name and storage capacity) based on existing dam/reservoir products, national basic geographic datasets, multi-source open map data, and multi-level governmental yearbooks and databases. The reservoirs compiled in the CRD have a total maximum water inundation area of 50 085.21 km2 and a total storage capacity of about 979.62 km3 (924.96-1060.59 km3). The quantity of reservoirs decreases from the southeast to the northwest, and the density hotspots mainly occur in hilly regions and large plains, with the Yangtze River basin dominating in reservoir count, area, and storage capacity. We found that these spatial accumulations of reservoirs are closely related to China's socioeconomic development and the implementation of major policies. Finally, we presented the comparison of the CRD with GOODD, GeoDAR, and GRanD databases. The CRD has significantly increased the reservoir count, area, and storage capacity in China, especially for reservoirs smaller than 1 km2. The CRD database provides more comprehensive reservoir spatial and attribute information and is expected to benefit water resources managements and the understanding of ecological and environmental impacts of dams across China and its affected transboundary basins. The CRD database is publicly available at 10.5281/zenodo.6984619 (Song et al., 2022).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4017-4034
Number of pages18
JournalEarth System Science Data
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 6 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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