Global Waterfall Database (HydroFALLS)

Global Waterfall Database (HydroFALLS)

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The Global Waterfall Database, termed HydroFALLS, is a point shapefile and related attribute table showing the location of 4362 waterfalls including their names and estimated mean river flow. The database has been compiled and validated using a variety of source information and constitutes the first consistent global GIS layer of waterfall features. The point locations have been co-registered to the global HydroSHEDS river network.


Department of Geography, McGill University (Montreal, Canada)

see also:

Lehner, B. (2013): Global Waterfall Database, Technical Documentation, Version 1.0. Available at

Data will be made available via

with support provided by: BioFresh project


Bernhard Lehner email


Bernhard Lehner
Department of Geography,
McGill University, Burnside Hall,
805 Sherbrooke Street West,
Montreal, QC H3A 0B9,
Phone: ++1.514.3988794

Related Publications

  • Beisel, R.H. (2006), International Waterfall Classification System, Outskirts Press, ISBN 1-59800-340-2
  • BirdLife International (2013), IUCN Red List for birds, Species factsheet: Hydrochous gigas. Available at
  • Herschy, R.W. (1998), Waterfalls. In: Encyclopedia of Hydrology and Lakes. Encyclopedia of Earth Science. Springer, Netherlands. 695-698.
  • Hudson, B.J. (2013), Waterfalls, science and aesthetics. Journal of Cultural Geography, 30(3).
  • Lehner, B. (2013): Global Waterfall Database, Technical Documentation, Version 1.0. Available at
  • Lehner, B. and Grill, G. (2013), Global river hydrography and network routing: baseline data and new approaches to study the world's large river systems. Hydrological Processes, 27: 2171–2186.
  • Lehner, B., Verdin, K. and Jarvis, A. (2008), New Global Hydrography Derived From Spaceborne Elevation Data. Eos, 89(10): 93-93.
  • NGA (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency) (2013), GeoNames Database. Available at
  • Plumb, G.A. (1993), A scale for comparing the visual magnitude of waterfalls. Earth-Science Reviews, 34(4), 261-270.
  • Rahel, F.J. (2007), Biogeographic barriers, connectivity and homogenization of freshwater faunas: it’s a small world after all. Freshwater Biology, 52: 696–710.
  • Torrente-Vilara, G., Zuanon, J., Leprieur, F., Oberdorff, T. and Tedesco, P. A. (2011), Effects of natural rapids and waterfalls on fish assemblage structure in the Madeira River (Amazon Basin). Ecology of Freshwater Fish, 20: 588–597.
  • World of Waterfalls (2013):
  • World Waterfall Database (2013):


Data will be made available via


This work was supported by the EU BioFresh Project (7th Framework European Program, Contract No. 226874); and McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

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