Rivers serve as nature’s highways, transporting water from mountains to ocean. Not only that but rivers also play host to an abundance of aquatic wildlife!
The Congo River in central Africa is the world’s deepest river, reaching depths exceeding 220m! That would cover London’s iconic clock tower Big Ben 2.5 times over!
The Ganges River
The Ganges River is revered in Hinduism as an emblem of spirituality and purity, serving as a source of life to millions. Poets and writers alike have found inspiration from its banks over time; today it remains an indispensable resource, providing fresh water for millions. Furthermore, it carries rich nutrient-rich sediment into its watershed making the soil extremely fertile – but unfortunately due to pollution this sacred symbol of Hinduism is becoming shallower in parts.
Pollutants polluting the Ganges River include sewage discharge, industrial waste and plastic objects; their presence poses threats to humans and animals alike. Religious activities that involve throwing food or items into the river for festivals also contribute to its contamination.
Water levels in the Ganges River have been declining, due to over-extraction for irrigation and industrial uses. Water conservation measures could help limit how much is taken from its banks for usage by agriculturalists and others.
The Amazon River
Streaming through South American jungles, the Amazon River is one of Mother Nature’s greatest marvels. Carrying more water than all six of its nearest rivals combined and providing essential hydration to millions of people and animals alike, it contributes 20% of freshwater entering the Atlantic Ocean via this single river system.
A river begins as a small stream and gradually widens over time with precipitation and groundwater infiltrating it, as well as receiving water from other streams (known as tributaries ) before finally making its way towards its mouth where it meets lakes, other rivers or the ocean.
During its dry season, the Amazon River measures between two to six miles wide; during rainy season however, its width may increase up to 30 miles wide and have earned it the name ‘River Sea.’ In its basin are home to 40 percent of global rainforests.
The Nile River
The Nile River is one of the world’s most significant rivers, playing an essential part in Egyptian civilization’s growth. Due to annual floods of the Nile, Egyptian cities were able to flourish. Egyptians even called it “Aur”, or black river due to all the silt it left behind each year.
The Blue and White Niles are two tributaries to the Nile River. The former flows through Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda and Egypt while its counterpart – White Nile – runs through Zaire, Kenya Tanzania Rwanda Burundi Uganda
The source of the White Nile remains undetermined; however, its estimated location could be Lake Victoria. The Nile and its tributaries flow through nine African countries making it one of the longest rivers worldwide. Of its many tributaries is one that shares its name with it and begins in northwestern Ethiopia near Lake Tana; it only flows during rainstorms before drying up during its regional dry season from January to June.
The Danube River
The Danube is Europe’s second longest and one of the most significant rivers. A popular river cruise destination, it passes through 10 countries before flowing back out into the Black Sea. Playing an integral role in history and serving as a symbol for Europe itself.
Donaueschingen in Germany marks its source, where two smaller rivers converge. From there it flows southeast across various countries such as Austria and Slovakia through Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest before eventually draining into Romania and Ukraine before draining into Black Sea.
Along the Danube’s path lies some stunning natural settings, including Naturpark Obere Donau in Germany and National Park Donau Auen in Austria; Gemenc in Hungary; Kopacki rit in Croatia; as well as passing through an attractive narrow gorge known as Iron Gates which makes for ideal river cruises.
The Thames River
The River Thames is an iconic water body located near London in England. At 346km long and the second-longest river in Britain, this body of water provides life to many different animal species that reside along its course.
Turner, Monet and Whistler all found inspiration for their works here. Additionally, this scene can also be found in many books and films such as Alice in Wonderland, Three Men in a Boat and The Wind in the Willows.
Though now notorious for its smell, the Thames once boasted beautiful and clear waters. Unfortunately, due to industrial pollution and human waste, this once beautiful body of water has turned brownish due to years of industrial contamination and human waste disposal. Tidal currents continue to stir up its waters daily, keeping some areas clean but others muddied up by tides.
The Thames River is one of the city’s primary sources of drinking water, providing approximately two thirds of London’s consumption. Not only is the Thames an essential water resource but it is also home to various species of aquatic life – making for an invaluable natural resource.
The Colorado River
The Colorado River is one of the longest rivers in the United States. Meandering for 1,450 miles (2,330 km), it flows through 11 national parks before meeting up at one of seven natural wonders of the world – The Grand Canyon.
It serves as an important water source in the southwestern US and northwestern Mexico, serving seven US basin states (Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming), 30 tribal nations and other uses including water supply, hydropower production, recreation opportunities, fish and wildlife habitat and other uses.
The Colorado River is notoriously salinized due to evaporation from reservoir surfaces, irrigation water use and soil/rock accumulation of salts; all factors that play into its high salinity. Addressing this major concern in order to preserve its health is therefore imperative.
The Yangtze River
The Yangtze River has long been an integral part of Chinese culture and history, serving as a means for agriculture, warfare, transportation, commerce and more. Furthermore, it provides energy in China through hydroelectricity production while being the busiest river for goods shipping in its region.
The massive Yangtze River boasts diverse natural ecosystems that are home to numerous plants and animals – such as snow leopards and colorful pheasants – as well as being important migratory routes for birds. Furthermore, its waters once contained two extinct dolphin species – baiji dolphins and narrow-ridged finless porpoises.
River Yangtze was also once home to some of China’s earliest civilizations, as evidenced by Hemudu culture relics discovered along its banks. These artifacts demonstrate how people planted rice, made pottery and wooden structures; advanced water irrigation systems allowed for more productive farming than earlier methods; as well as an advanced water irrigation system more advanced than typical slash-and-burn farming systems at the time.
The Inga Rapids of the Congo River
The Congo River is one of the world’s greatest rivers. Flowing through Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which boasts abundant natural resources, its waters provide vital power sources and water supplies that sustain daily lives in this African country.
Damming of the river represents a threat to its ecosystem and all that depends upon it, supporting wildlife and communities alike.
Ange Asanzi joined International Rivers as its Africa Program Associate in 2014 to protect African river basins from destructive hydropower development. She discussed how the Congo River plays an integral part of African life while its region faces threats from large dams.
Inga Rapids of the Congo River are among the world’s most dangerous whitewater spots, having claimed many explorers’ lives over time. But kayakers Steve Fisher and Ben Marr take a bold stab at making a first descent of this deadly stretch of water in Red Bull Film: Inga Rapids: First Descending Expedition.
The Great Lakes
The Great Lakes of North America are a precious freshwater treasure and vitally important ecosystem, serving as tourist attractions, shipping lanes and energy sources. Comprised of one fifth of all fresh water globally and providing habitat to 139 native fish species – their presence plays an essential role in supporting our economies, tourism and agriculture sectors. Without them our economies would collapse.
Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes system, holds more than 3 quadrillion gallons of water at any one time – more than enough to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool completely or cover Minnesota by one foot of water!
The Great Lakes were formed as a result of melting mile-thick glaciers during Wisconsin Ice Age. Lake Superior drains to Lake Huron, then Michigan and finally into Atlantic Ocean via Saint Lawrence River. Lake Erie is one of the smallest Great Lakes but still contains enough water to cover Ohio, Indiana and Illinois with over two feet of water!