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Global Lakes and Wetlands Database

The combination of best available sources for lakes and wetlands on a global scale (1:1 to 1:3 million resolution), and the application of GIS functionality enabled the generation of a database which focuses in three coordinated levels on (1) large lakes and reservoirs, (2) smaller water bodies, and (3) wetlands.

Level 1 (GLWD-1) comprises the 3067 largest lakes (area ≥ 50 km2) and 654 largest reservoirs (storage capacity ≥ 0.5 km3) worldwide, and includes extensive attribute data.

Level 2 (GLWD-2) comprises permanent open water bodies with a surface area ≥ 0.1 km2 excluding the water bodies contained in GLWD-1.

For GLWD-3, the polygons of GLWD-1 and GLWD-2 were combined with additional information on the maximum extents and types of wetlands. Class ‘lake’ in both GLWD-2 and GLWD-3 also includes man-made reservoirs, as only the largest reservoirs have been distinguished from natural lakes.

Data Resources (4)

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Additional Info

Field Value
Dataset topic category
  • Environmental and biodiversity protection
  • SDG 6 Clean water and sanitation
  • Water resources
  • English
Use limitations The User may apply GLWD for non-commercial scientific, conservation and educational purposes. The User shall not copy, reproduce, convert, (re)publish, (re)distribute, (re)broadcast, (re)transmit, sell, rent, lease, sublicense, lend, assign, time-share, or transfer, in whole or in part, or provide unlicensed third parties access to the data and related materials.
Dataset reference date May 25, 2021
Temporal extent's start date January 1, 1992
Temporal extent's end date January 1, 2004
  • Cambodia
  • Lao People's Democratic Republic
  • Myanmar
  • Thailand
  • Viet Nam
West bounding coordinates -180.0000010174699
East bounding coordinates 180.0000177579932
South bounding coordinates -90.00000837026164
North bounding coordinates 90.00000101746991
Spatial Reference System Flat-world (EPSG:404000)
Completeness Completed
Lineage Lehner, B. and Döll, P. (2004): Development and validation of a global database of lakes, reservoirs and wetlands. Journal of Hydrology 296/1-4: 1-22.
Responsible party Bernhard Lehner*, Petra Döll Center for Environmental Systems Research, University of Kassel, Kurt-Wolters-Strasse 3, 34109 Kassel, Germany *World Wildlife Fund US, 1250 24th Street NW, Washington, DC 20037, USA Email:

No license given

Copyright Yes
Version 1.0
Keywords global wetland,wwf wetland database
Date uploaded May 25, 2021, 18:14 (UTC)
Date modified May 28, 2021, 03:53 (UTC)