This article has attempted to highlight some of the features distinguishing impoundments from natural bodies of water. Although they share many similarities, the special design features and hydrological controls possible with impoundments provide distinctive characteristics.

The purpose of each impoundment and how it is operated can affect the hydraulics of water flow and the composition of different types of matter within the water itself. The purpose also drives the practical requirements to monitor and manage the quality of the water that is in storage.

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