The reservoir is growing at a rate of about 1 meter (3.3 feet) per year. This is twice as fast as reservoir water level growth in naturally formed islands. Freshwater can support agriculture. Agriculture can be exported. Islands that are habitable and have commerce can qualify for UN exclusion zones.
Fiery Cross Reef is 2 square kilometers (0.77 sq miles or about 470 acres).
Annual rainfall was nearly 3.0 meters (118 inches) at the reef. This is five times the average in mainland China. A belt of freshwater was found floating on top of the saltwater. This phenomenon, known as a "freshwater lens", can take up to 150 years to form and stabilize on a naturally formed island. The freshwater lens appeared just two years after the land was reclaimed. This year it measured 7 meters (23 feet). It will expand to depth of 15 meters (49 feet) by 2035.