Main Hydrographic Basins in the World

We can highlight in each continent some hydrographic basins of great importance for human use.

American continent

America has land in all climatic zones, with the exception of the Antarctic glacial zone. For this reason it presents a dense and quite varied hydrographic network.

Depending on the use and the degree of importance for transport, we can highlight:

– North America – The Mackenzie and São Lourenço rivers, in Canada. The latter on the border with the USA (southeast) and with great importance in the formation of a fluvial-maritime system that interconnects the Great Lakes (industrial region) with the North Atlantic. In the USA, the Mississippi-Missouri basin, the Hudson River on the east coast, and the Colorado, Columbia and Sacramento rivers on the west coast, with high hydroelectric potential, deserve special mention. In Mexico, the Rio Grande, on the border with the USA, stands out.

– South America – In this part of the continent, under the strong influence of tropical climates, rivers have a large volume of water. The main hydrographic basins are: that of the Orinoco River, in Venezuela; the Amazon, in the north (Brazil has most of this basin); the Platinum in the south, covering land of Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina; the São Francisco Basin and the Araguaia-Tocantins Basin , both in Brazil.

European continent

In Europe, the large number of navigable rivers is remarkable, due to the fact that their relief is formed, predominantly, by low lands.

Main rivers:

– Portugal – Tejo, which bathes the city of Lisbon;

– France – Loire, Rhone (runs south and is widely used to transport oil from North Africa) and the Seine, which runs through the city of Paris.

– Germany – The Rhine-Ruhr basin, which crosses an important industrial region in Germany (Bonn, Cologne, Dusseldorf and Essen) and serves as a natural outlet for the port of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, and the River Elbe, in the east, which serves cities like Leipzig and Dresden and ends at the port of Hamburg, in the north of the territory.

– Poland – The highlight is the Vistula, which passes through Warsaw and ends at the Baltic Sea.

– Russia – The Volga River is the longest river in Europe. In addition, they deserve to be highlighted in Russian territory: the Dnieper; the Ural, which separates Europe from Asia, the Don, where there is a large reserve of coal.

In addition to these main rivers, the Danube River crosses several European countries (Germany, Austria, Hungary and Romania), passing through three important capitals (Vienna, Budapest and Bucharest) and serving as an important communication artery between Western and Eastern Europe.

Another important fact is that, in the northern plains, artificial channels allow communication between several rivers, such as the Rhine, the Elbe and the Vistula, greatly intensifying the use of waterways.

Asian continent

According to localbusinessexplorer, the largest continent on the planet has regions of great climatic contrasts, ranging from desert regions, such as the Middle East , to tropical regions, such as Southeast Asia.

– West Asia

It is a region where arid and semi-arid climates predominate, therefore with low rainfall and poor drainage. The most important hydrographic basin in the region is Tigre and Euphrates, in Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq). Its sources are in Turkey, but most river courses drain Iraqi land until it flows into the Persian Gulf. This area, which is part of what in the historical past was called the fertile crescent, is of great importance for riverside populations and for the supply of several cities, including Baghdad and Damascus.

The Jordan River, located on the border between Israel and Jordan, is already the target of disputes over the control of its waters between the two countries. In the future, water in the Middle East will be as important as oil today.

– South Asia

South Asia is strongly influenced by the monsoon climate, making the rivers that, in the summer, flood to the point of causing flooding in some areas.

In India, two rivers are important: the Indus, which flows into the Arabian Sea, and the Ganges, which flows into a delta in the Gulf of Bengal. Both run across the immense Indo-Gangetic plain between the Himalayas and the Decan plateau. When it is the summer monsoon period, the Ganges plain has great floods, which greatly favors the cultivation of rice, the food base of the local populations.

In former eastern Pakistan, now Bangladesh, the Bramaputra River, which flows into the Ganges in the Gulf of Bengal, also assumes vital importance for subsistence farming.

Southeast Asia

In Indochina, the Mekong River, which flows through Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, represents the survival of the peasant population with agriculture on the river terraces.

– Far East

The People’s Republic of China has, on its coast, a narrow strip of lowland, where most of its population is located. These eastern plains, which today are experiencing strong urban-industrial growth, are crossed by three important rivers: the Hoang-Ho, where the Loess soil of wind origin is found; Yang-Tzu-Kiang, where the Three Gorges plant is built; the Sikiang. This region is intensively exploited by agricultural practice, where floodplains are of great importance.

– Central and North Asia

Cold and dry climates are characteristic of these two Asian regions. Many rivers have a national regime and, as northern Russia is formed by the Siberian plain, the main rivers flow into the Arctic glacial ocean. Ob, Yenisei and Lena are the rivers that cut through the icy lands of Siberia.

African continent

It has a certain symmetry to the north and south of the Equator with respect to its climates and plant landscapes, but inequality in the distribution of rivers.

– Northern Africa

As the region is dominated by the largest hot desert in the world, the Sahara, its hydrography is less dense than in the southern portion of the continent. Rivers are born in regions that are out of Saharan aridity. The Nile rises on Lake Victoria, between Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, in Equatorial Africa, and heads north, passing through Sudan and Egypt, where it empties into the Mediterranean Sea. Its famous flow of water between summer and winter, responsible for the fertility of its bed, was severely impaired in the 1950s, when President Nasser built the Aswan dam, with the purpose of irrigating the desert.

Niger is a river that rises on the west coast of Africa, enters the territory reaching Mali and Niger and flows into the Gulf of Guinea. In the interior of the desert, temporary rivers can form due to scarce rain or oasis due to the outcrop of groundwater.

– Sub-Saharan Africa

Dominated by tropical climates, it is a region of greater hydrographic wealth. Its rivers are more branched and have a greater volume of water. The Congo basin, with characteristics very similar to the Amazon, receives many tributaries from the interior of the continent and empties into the Gulf of Guinea, west coast of Africa.

In the southeast of the continent, ending in the Mozambique channel, are the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers, with high hydroelectric potential, although little used. The Orange River, which crosses the South African territory, has better use for both irrigation and energy generation.

Main Hydrographic Basins in the World