Articles | Volume 22, issue 12
Research article
21 Dec 2022
Research article |  | 21 Dec 2022

A global open-source database of flood-protection levees on river deltas (openDELvE)

Jaap H. Nienhuis, Jana R. Cox, Joey O'Dell, Douglas A. Edmonds, and Paolo Scussolini

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Cited articles

Barbetta, S., Camici, S., Maccioni, P., and Moramarco, T.: National Levee Database: monitoring, vulnerability assessment and management in Italy, in: Geophysical Research Abstracts, 12–17 April 2015, Vienna, Austria, EGU2015-10170, 2015. 
Buchhorn, M.; Lesiv, M., Tsendbazar, N.-E., Herold, M., Bertels, L., Smets, B.: Copernicus Global Land Cover Layers-Collection 2, Remote Sens., 12, 1044,, 2020. 
Caldwell, R. L., Edmonds, D. A., Baumgardner, S., Paola, C., Roy, S., and Nienhuis, J. H.: A global delta dataset and the environmental variables that predict delta formation on marine coastlines, Earth Surf. Dynam., 7, 773–787,, 2019. 
Cohen-Shacham, E., Walters, G., Janzen, C., and Maginnis, S.: Nature-based solutions to address global societal challenges, edited by: Cohen-Shacham, E., Walters, G., Janzen, C., and Maginnis, S., IUCN International Union for Conservation of Nature,, 2016. 
Cox, J. R., Paauw, M., Nienhuis, J. H., Dunn, F. E., van der Deijl, E., Esposito, C., Goichot, M., Leuven, J. R. F. W., van Maren, D. S., Middelkoop, H., Naffaa, S., Rahman, M., Schwarz, C., Sieben, E., Triyanti, A., and Yuill, B.: A global synthesis of the effectiveness of sedimentation-enhancing strategies for river deltas and estuaries, Global Planet. Change, 103796,, 2022. 
Short summary
Humans build levees to protect themselves against floods. We need to know where they are to correctly predict flooding, for example from sea level rise. Here we have looked through documents to find levees, and checked that they exist using satellite imagery. We developed a global levee map, available at, and we found that 24 % of people in deltas are protected by levees.
Final-revised paper