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The Amazon River (dark blue) and the rivers which flow into it (medium blue).

A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of water. Small rivers can be referred to using names such as stream, creek, brook, rivulet, and rill. There are no official definitions for the generic term river as applied to geographic features, although in some countries or communities a stream is defined by its size. Many names for small rivers are specific to geographic location; examples are "run" in some parts of the United States, "burn" in Scotland and northeast England, and "beck" in northern England. Sometimes a river is defined as being larger than a creek, but not always: the language is vague.

Rivers are part of the hydrological cycle. Water generally collects in a river from precipitation through a drainage basin from surface runoff and other sources such as groundwater recharge, springs, and the release of stored water in natural ice and snowpacks (e.g., from glaciers).

Rivers and streams are often considered major features within a landscape; however, they actually only cover around 0.1% of the land on Earth. They are made more obvious and significant to humans since many human cities and civilizations are built around the freshwater supplied by rivers and streams. Most of the major cities of the world are situated on the banks of rivers, as they are, or were, used as a source of water, for obtaining food, for transport, as borders, as a defensive measure, as a source of hydropower to drive machinery, for bathing, and as a means of disposing of waste. (Full article...)

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The Ombla at Komolac, Croatia

The Ombla is a short river in Croatia, northeast of Dubrovnik. Its course is approximately 30 metres (98 feet) long, and it empties into the Rijeka Dubrovačka, ria formed by the Adriatic Sea near Komolac in Dubrovnik-Neretva County. Rijeka Dubrovačka is actually a ria, a flooded river valley formed through changes in sea surface elevation on a geologic time scale. The river rises as a karst spring fed by groundwater replenished by Trebišnjica, which is an influent stream flowing in Popovo Polje, in the immediate hinterland of the Ombla. The elevation difference between the river's source and its mouth is just over 2 metres (6 feet 7 inches). The average discharge of the river is 24.1 cubic metres (850 cubic feet) per second. The drainage basin of the Ombla encompasses 600 square kilometres (230 square miles) and, besides the short surface course, includes only groundwater flow.

The Ombla is used as a source of drinking water for Dubrovnik's water supply network, and construction of a hydroelectric power plant has been planned for the past two decades. , the plans entail construction of a subsurface reservoir and a 68 megawatt power plant. The plan sparked controversy amid doubts raised with respect to environmental protection and biodiversity management, technical and financial feasibility, and procedural problems related to the project. A particular concern expressed was that the underground reservoir might trigger earthquakes. (Full article...)
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Puente de la Margineda, Santa Coloma, Andorra, 2013-12-30, DD 08-10 HDR.jpg
(c) Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0

Gran Valira river spanned by the Pont de la Margineda in Andorra

General images -

The following are images from various river-related articles on Wikipedia.

Did you know?

  • ... that the River Poddle, the main water source of the city of Dublin for over 500 years, was later so polluted by industry that it allegedly killed cattle and horses drinking from it?
  • ... that six different dams were proposed for the lower Sanpoil River?
  • ... that radio station WWBC in Cocoa, Florida, was forced to remove its transmitter tower from the Indian River when the site was sold to condominium developers?

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Media files used on this page

Author/Creator: Kmusser, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
Map of the Amazon River drainage basin with the Amazon River highlighted.
The Earth seen from Apollo 17 with transparent background.png
"The Blue Marble" is a famous photograph of the Earth taken on December 7, 1972 by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft en route to the Moon at a distance of about 29,000 kilometers (18,000 statute miles). It shows Africa, Antarctica, and the Arabian Peninsula.
WikiProject Geology.svg
Author/Creator: unknown, Licence: CC BY-SA 2.5
Walden Pond, Massachusetts on June 27, 2012.png
Author/Creator: Buaidh, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Walden Pond, Massachusetts on June 27, 2012. This is a square crop of 2012-06-27-Walden-Pond-02 33.jpg by User:Cbaile19.
The Matterhorn as seen from Zermatt.png
Author/Creator: Buaidh, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
The Matterhorn as seen from Zermatt. This is a square crop of Peak of the Matterhorn, seen from Zermatt, Switzerland.jpg
Waves in pacifica 1.jpg
Author/Creator: Brocken Inaglory, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Sea Storm in Pacifica, w:California
Drinking water.jpg
Author/Creator: Photo taken by de:Benutzer:Alex Anlicker using a Nikon Coolpix 950., Licence: CC-BY-SA-3.0
Pitná voda - kohoutek
Cumulus clouds in fair weather.jpeg
Author/Creator: Michael Jastremski, Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0
Cumulus clouds in fair weather. Photograph taken by Michael Jastremski.
Atchafalaya Basin.jpg
A scene in the Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana, USA, in the Sherburne Complex Wildlife Management Area, a Nature Conservancy reserve.
The Earth seen from Apollo 17.jpg
"The Blue Marble" is a famous photograph of the Earth taken on December 7, 1972, by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft en route to the Moon at a distance of about 29,000 kilometres (18,000 mi). It shows Africa, Antarctica, and the Arabian Peninsula.
Information icon4.svg

penubag (color adjustments)

, Licence: PD

An i icon for templates and the like

New Zealand long fin eel.jpg
(c) Carpenter0 at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0
Waitakere ranges New Zealand long fin eel (Anguilla dieffenbachii) by David Burgess
Featured article star.svg
(c) Booyabazooka, CC-BY-SA-3.0
Wikipedia featured article star
The Flowing River.jpg
Author/Creator: Spandan chowdhury, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
a wild river,, flowing silently, amidst the deep jungles and Mountains of Himalaya
Anthropogenic influences on river systems.png
Author/Creator: David R. Bridgland, Jef Vandenberghe and Xianyan Wang. Figure designed and drafted by Meredith Sadler., Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Schematic diagram to show range of anthropogenic influences on river systems. Illustrated examples are mainly from settings with modest technological influence, especially in the period of about 10,000 to 4000 cal yr BP.
Izvor Omble.JPG
Author/Creator: Bracodbk, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
Izvor i ušće Omble
Effra vauxhall 2.jpg
Author/Creator: Tarquin Binary, Licence: CC BY-SA 2.5
Effra former stream, since mid-19th century combined fully underground (culverted) sewer has a storm outlet pending construction of the Thames Tideway Tunnel, Vauxhall, London. 29 October 2005. Photographer: Fin Fahey
Darkgreen flag waving.svg
Author/Creator: TristanBomb, Licence: CC0
A dark green flag.
Cooplacurripa R.JPG
Author/Creator: Cgoodwin, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
Cooplacurripa River, NSW
Interstate 20 at Vicksburg and Mississippi River.JPG
Author/Creator: Fredlyfish4, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
Interstate 20 crossing the Mississippi River at Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Overlander Falls.JPG
Rapids on the Fraser River below Overlander Falls.
(c) Christian Fischer, CC BY-SA 3.0
Canadian Waterweed, Elodea canadensis (with enlarged cross section of a single whorl). In this instance, the leaves are relatively long and narrow (four times longer than wide). There are also specimens with stockier leaves.
Castle Geyser, Yellowstone, 1874.jpg
The Castle Geyser, Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park from Hayden, Ferdinand Vandeveer (1829-1887), The Yellowstone National Park and the mountain region of portions of Idaho, Nevada, Colorado and Utah... (Boston: lithograph by L. Prang, 1876)
Burger OtokKriznaJama.jpg
Subterranean river isle in Cross Cave (Križna jama), Slovenia.
Gabas 007.jpg
Author/Creator: Jean Michel Etchecolonea, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
Cascade à Gabas (Pyrénées-Atlantiques) (Pyrénées).
Winter Forest Near Erzhausen II.jpg
A forest winter scene near Erzhausen, Germany. Looking eastwards.
La chute d'entrée de la Gorge du Diable.jpg
Author/Creator: Y. Drasil, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
l'entrée de la gorge du Diable sur la route de Trigrad en Bulgarie.
Aquatic food web.jpg
Author/Creator: Kestin Schulz, Mariya W. Smit, Lydie Herfort and Holly M. Simon. The image (amended) was provided courtesy of the Missouri Department of Conservation., Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Example of an aquatic food web
Bacteria can be seen in the red box at the bottom. Bacteria (and other decomposers, like worms) decompose and recycle nutrients back to the habitat, which is shown by the light blue arrows. Without bacteria, the rest of the food web would starve, because there would not be enough nutrients for the animals higher up in the food web. The dark orange arrows show how some animals consume others in the food web. For example, lobsters may be eaten by humans. The dark blue arrows represent one complete food chain, beginning with the consumption of algae by the “water flea” Daphnia, which is consumed by a small fish, which is consumed by a larger fish, which is at the end consumed by the Great blue heron.
Stream at the Walhalla ravine.jpg
Author/Creator: Jeffrey Horvath from columbus /// chicago, USA, Licence: CC BY 2.0
Photo of the Walhalla ravine in the Clintonville area of Columbus, Ohio.
Water hyacinth.jpg
Common water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)
Nuvola apps korganizer.svg
Author/Creator: unknown, Licence:
River Calder Weir.JPG
Author/Creator: The original uploader was Aonrotar at English Wikipedia., Licence: CC-BY-SA-3.0
A weir on the River Calder, taken by Harry Wheildon on 24th March, 2007.
C Puzzle.png
Author/Creator: unknown, Licence: CC-BY-SA-3.0
Co-occurrence networks of bacterial communities in a stream.png
Author/Creator: Yang Liu, Xiaodong Qu, James J. Elser, Wenqi Peng, Min Zhang, Ze Ren, Haiping Zhang, Yuhang Zhang and Hua Yang, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Co-occurrence networks of bacterial communities in a stream
Buna source.jpg
Author/Creator: Pero Kvrzica, Licence: CC BY 2.0
Buna 10
Caves entranceexit.jpg
Author/Creator: Paul Chin, Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, Philippines: View of the cave's entrance
Author/Creator: Alexrk2, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
Map icons for Wikipedia markers
Gustave Doré - Dante Alighieri - Inferno - Plate 9 (Canto III - Charon).jpg
Gustave Doré's illustration to Dante's Inferno. Plate IX: Canto III: Arrival of Charon. "And lo! towards us coming in a boat / An old man, hoary with the hair of eld, / Crying: 'Woe unto you, ye souls depraved!'" (Longfellow's translation) "And, lo! toward us in a bark / Comes an old man, hoary white with eld, / Crying "Woe to you, wicked spirits!" (Cary's translation)
Biofilm components in streams.jpg
Author/Creator: Sergi Sabater, Xisca Timoner, Carles Borrego and Vicenç Acuña, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
An idealized scheme of the biofilm components in streams
The different biofilm components (algae and bacteria, as the principals) are embedded in an exopolysaccharide matrix (EPS), and are net receptors of inorganic and organic elements and remain submitted to the influences of the different environmental factors.
Stream in the redwoods.jpg
Author/Creator: inajeep from US, Licence: CC BY 2.0
stream in the redwoods: stream in Muir Woods
Periphyton in the Everglades, Florida, USA.