Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

Global Lake Water Storage Trends and Drivers

More than half of the world's largest lakes have declined over the past three decades. Human water consumption, warming climate, and sedimentation are largely responsible for water losses, while gains are due to reservoir infilling and regional increases in precipitation and runoff. Nearly one-quarter of the world's population resides in a basin with a drying lake, underscoring the importance of management solutions. 

Explore your area in the map below or the linked, larger map. Pink depicts drying reservoirs; dark red, drying natural lakes. Dark blue marks natural lakes increasing in water storage; and light blue for existing reservoirs doing the same. Purple dots indicate new, filling reservoirs. 

Credit: Yao et al., Science (2023). 

Contact: Fangfang Yao, CIRES Visiting Fellow (