ResOpsUS, a dataset of historical reservoir operations in the contiguous United States

Jennie C. Steyaert, Laura E. Condon, Sean W.D. Turner, Nathalie Voisin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


There are over 52,000 dams in the contiguous US ranging from 0.5 to 243 meters high that collectively hold 600,000 million cubic meters of water. These structures have dramatically affected the river dynamics of every major watershed in the country. While there are national datasets that document dam attributes, there is no national dataset of reservoir operations. Here we present a dataset of historical reservoir inflows, outflows and changes in storage for 679 major reservoirs across the US, called ResOpsUS. All of the data are provided at a daily temporal resolution. Temporal coverage varies by reservoir depending on construction date and digital data availability. Overall, the data spans from 1930 to 2020, although the best coverage is for the most recent years, particularly 1980 to 2020. The reservoirs included in our dataset cover more than half of the total storage of large reservoirs in the US (defined as reservoirs with storage greater 0.1 km3). We document the assembly process of this dataset as well as its contents. Historical operations are also compared to static reservoir attribute datasets for validation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number34
JournalScientific Data
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Information Systems
  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Library and Information Sciences


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