HELP River Basins in Asia and the Pacific

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The Aral Sea was a lake lying between Kazakhstan in the north and Karakalpakstan, an autonomous region of Uzbekistan, in the south. The name roughly translates as “Sea of Islands”, referring to about 1,534 islands that once dotted its waters

Formerly one of the four largest lakes in the world with an area of 68,000 km2 (26,300 sq mi), the Aral Sea has been steadily shrinking since the 1960s after the rivers that fed it were diverted by Soviet irrigation projects. By 2007, it had declined to 10% of its original size, splitting into four lakes – the North Aral Sea, the eastern and western basins of the once far larger South Aral Sea, and one smaller lake between the North and South Aral Seas.By 2009, the southeastern lake had disappeared and the southwestern lake had retreated to a thin strip at the extreme west of the former southern sea. The maximum depth of the North Aral Sea is 42 m (138 ft) (as of 2008).

 

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The Brahmani is a major seasonal river in the Odisha state of Eastern India. The Brahmani is formed by the confluence of the Sankh and South Koel rivers, and flows through the districts of Sundargarh, Kendujhar, Dhenkanal, Cuttack and Jajapur. Together with the rivers Mahanadi and Baitarani, it forms a large delta before entering into the Bay of Bengal at Dhamra.

The Brahmani is formed by the confluence of the rivers South Koel and Sankh near the major industrial town of Raurkela at 22 15′ N and 84 47′ E. The Sankh has its origins near the Jharkhand-Chhatisgarh border, not far from the Netarhat Plateau. The South Koel too arises in Jharkhand, near Lohardaga, on the other side of a watershed that also gives rise to the Damodar River. Both of these sources are in the Chota Nagpur Plateau. At about 480 km long, the Brahmani is the second longest river in Orissa after the Mahanadi. However if its constituent rivers are included its length extends to about 799 km, 541 of which is in Orissa. It has a catchment area of about 39,033 km2 in Orissa alone.

 

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The Burdekin River in Queensland, Australia rises on the western slope of the Seaview Range and flows into the Pacific Ocean at Upstart Bay over 200 km to the southeast of the source. The river was first encountered by Europeans during the expedition led by Ludwig Leichhardt in 1845 and named for Mrs. Thomas Burdekin, who had provided assistance to the expedition.

Apart from the Murray River, it is economically the most important river in Australia, and has the fourth-largest watershed of any exorheic drainage system in Australia. It is also the fourth-largest river in Australia by volume of flow,[1] but is so erratic that its discharge can reach the mean discharge of the Yangtze (after two severe cyclones in 1958) or have as many as seven months with no flow whatsoever (as in 1923). This exceedingly erratic flow is due to the extreme variability of precipitation throughout the entire basin. Annual rainfall at most gauges within the basin can range from 200 mm (8 inches) to over 1,600 mm (64 inches) depending on the monsoon and the number of cyclones that cross the coast.[2] On the coast itself, the variability is even higher: at Bowen not far from the river’s mouth, the annual rainfall has ranged from 216mm in 1915 to over 2,200mm in 1950.

 

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The Chirchiq or Chirchik is a river of Uzbekistan. It is 155 km in length and its basin has an area of 14,900 km ².

The river is formed at the confluence of the Chatkal River and Pskem River, which form the Lake Charvak reservoir. It flows through about 30 km of canyon in the upper reaches. Below the valley widens and eventually joins the Syr Darya. There are several dams on the river which serve both for electricity generation and irrigation. All main canals of Tashkent, such as Bozsu, Anhor, Salar, and Burijar are fed by the water from Chirchik. The river flows through or in close proximity to the following cities: Hodjikent, Gazalkent, Chirchik, Tashkent, Yangiyo’l, Chinaz.

A number of hydroelectric dams are built along the river.

 

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Davao, Philippines
May 32014

The Davao River catchment is the third largest river catchment on the Southern Philippines Island of Mindanao. It drains an area of over 1700 km² with a river length of 160 km. Most of the area is uplands. Average flows within the river near to the mouth are estimated at 70-80 cubic meters per second. The climate type is relatively uniform throughout the year with evenly distributed rainfall and temperatures and humidity (rainfall = 2600mm, Actual Evap 1028mm). The area rarely experiences typhoons.

 

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The Fitzroy River lies in Queensland, Australia. Its catchment covers an area of 142,665 square kilometres, making it the largest river catchment flowing to the eastern coast of Australia. The river is formed by the joining of the Mackenzie and Dawson rivers at Duaringa. The catchment stretches from the Carnarvon Ranges in the west to the rivermouth in Keppel Bay, near Rockhampton. It is bounded to the north by the Burdekin River catchment area and to the south by the Burnett River catchment area.

The Fitzroy was named by Charles and William Archer on 4 May 1853 in honour of Sir Charles FitzRoy, Governor of the Colony of New South Wales.

 

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Ganges, India
May 22014

The Ganges (/ˈɡændʒiːz/ gan-jeez), also Ganga (Hindi: गंगा; Bengali: গঙ্গা ; Sanskrit: गङ्गा) (Hindustani pronunciation: [ˈɡəŋɡaː] gung-ga), is a trans-boundary river of Asia which flows through India and Bangladesh. The 2,525 km (1,569 mi) river rises in the western Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, and flows south and east through the Gangetic Plain of North India into Bangladesh, where it empties into the Bay of Bengal. It is the third largest river by discharge.

The Ganges is the most sacred river to Hindus. It is also a lifeline to millions of Indians who live along its course and depend on it for their daily needs. It is worshipped as the goddess Ganga in Hinduism. It has also been important historically, with many former provincial or imperial capitals (such as Pataliputra, Kannauj, Kara, Kashi, Allahabad, Murshidabad, Munger, Baharampur, Kampilya, and Kolkata) located on its banks.

The Ganges was ranked as the fifth most polluted river of the world in 2007. Pollution threatens not only humans, but also more than 140 fish species, 90 amphibian species and the endangered Ganges river dolphin. The Ganga Action Plan, an environmental initiative to clean up the river, has been a major failure thus far, due to corruption, lack of technical expertise, good environmental planning, and support from religious authorities.

 

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The Geumho River flows through North Gyeongsang Province, South Korea, and drains into the Nakdong River. It rises in the hilly area of western Pohang, flows west for 116 kilometers before its meeting with the Nakdong in western Daegu. It drains an area of more than 2,000 square kilometers. Notable tributaries include the Sincheon, which flows north through Daegu. The name Geumho-gang means “river of the zither-shaped lake,” a reference to its oxbow curve in northern Daegu. Much of the river shore in Daegu has been transformed into parkland.

The Geumho has been among the most polluted rivers in South Korea largely because of industrial waste from nearby large-scale dyeing operations. This is especially important because the Geumho is a tributary of the Nakdong river. Samples of water have consistently received low grades on the water grading system of the Korean government. Communities allege that the water quality problem stemmed from the development of the Wicheon complex. The regional environment office of Daegu reported a new ecological plan to improve water quality around the rivers in 2008, including improvement of water circulation and the rivers’ ecosystems.

 

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Indus, Pakistan
May 12014

The Indus River is a major river in Asia which flows through Pakistan. It also has courses through western Tibet and Northern India. Originating in the Tibetan Plateau in the vicinity of Lake Mansarovar, the river runs a course through the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, towards Gilgit and Baltistan and then flows in a southerly direction along the entire length of Pakistan to merge into the Arabian Sea near the port city of Karachi in Sindh. The total length of the river is 3,180 km (1,980 mi). It is Pakistan’s longest river.

The river has a total drainage area exceeding 1,165,000 km2 (450,000 sq mi). Its estimated annual flow stands at around 207 km3 (50 cu mi), making it the twenty-first largest river in the world in terms of annual flow. The Zanskar is its left bank tributary in Ladakh. In the plains, its left bank tributary is the Chenab which itself has four major tributaries, namely, the Jhelum, the Ravi, the Beas and the Sutlej. Its principal right bank tributaries are the Shyok, the Gilgit, the Kabul, the Gomal and the Kurram. Beginning in a mountain spring from Nepal and fed with glaciers and rivers in the Himalayas, the river supports ecosystems of temperate forests, plains and arid countryside.

The Indus forms the delta of present-day Pakistan mentioned in the Vedic Rigveda as Sapta Sindhu and the Iranian Zend Avesta as Hapta Hindu (both terms meaning “seven rivers”). The river has been a source of wonder since the Classical Period, with King Darius of Persia sending Scylax of Caryanda to explore the river as early as 510 BC.

 

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The Irtysh River  is a river in Siberia and Kazakhstan and is the chief tributary of the Ob River.

Irtysh’s main affluents are the Tobol River and the Ishim River. The Ob-Irtysh system forms a major drainage basin in Asia, encompassing most of Western Siberia and the Altai Mountains.

From its origins as the Kara-Irtysh (Black Irtysh) in the Mongolian Altay mountains in Xinjiang, China, the Irtysh flows northwest through Lake Zaysan in Kazakhstan, meeting the Ishim and Tobol rivers before merging with the Ob near Khanty-Mansiysk in western Siberia, Russia after 4,248 kilometres (2,640 mi).

The name Black Irtysh (Kara-Irtysh in Kazakh, or Cherny Irtysh in Russian) is applied by some authors, especially in Russia and Kazakhstan, to the upper course of the river, from its source entering Lake Zaysan. The term White Irtysh, in opposition to the Black Irtysh, was occasionally used in the past to refer to the Irtysh below lake Zaysan; now this usage is largely obsolete.

 

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The Kabul River is a 700-kilometre (430 mi) long river that starts in the Sanglakh Range of the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and ends in the Indus River near Attock, Pakistan. It is the main river in eastern Afghanistan and is separated from the watershed of the Helmand by the Unai Pass. The Kabul River passes through the cities of Kabul and Jalalabad in Afghanistan before flowing into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan some 25 kilometres (16 mi) north of the Durand Line border crossing at Torkham. The major tributaries of the Kabul River are the Logar, Panjshir, Kunar, Alingar, Bara and Swat rivers.

The Kabul River is little more than a trickle for most of the year, but swells in summer due to melting snows in the Hindu Kush Range. Its largest tributary is the Kunar River, which starts out as the Mastuj River, flowing from the Chiantar glacier in Chitral, Pakistan and after flowing south into Afghanistan it is met by the Bashgal river flowing from Nurestan. The Kunar meets the Kabul near Jalalabad. In spite of the Kunar carrying more water than the Kabul, the river continues as the Kabul River after this confluence, mainly for the political and historical significance of the name.

The Kabul River is impounded by several dams. The Naghlu, Surobi, and Darunta dams are located in Kabul and Nangarhar provinces of Afghanistan. The Warsak Dam is in Pakistan, approximately 20 km northwest of the city of Peshawar.

 

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Kali Gandaki, Nepal
April 232014

The Kali Gandaki or Gandaki River (also known as the Narayani in southern Nepal and the Gandak in India) is one of the major rivers of Nepal and a left bank tributary of the Ganges in India. It is also called Krishna Gandaki in Nepal. In Nepal the river is notable for its deep gorge through the Himalayas and its enormous hydroelectric potential. It has a total catchment area of 46,300 square kilometers (17,900 sq mi), most of it in Nepal. The basin also contains three of the world’s 14 mountains over 8,000m, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu and Annapurna I. Dhaulagiri is the highest point of the Gandaki basin. It lies between the similar Kosi system to the east and the Karnali (Ghaghara) system to the west.

The Kali Gandaki river source is at the border with Tibet at an altitude of 6,268 m (20,564 ft) at the Nhubine Himal Glacier in the Mustang region of Nepal.

The headwaters stream on some maps is named the Chhuama Khola and then, nearing Lo Manthang, the Nhichung Khola or Choro Khola. The Kali Gandaki then flows southwest (with the name of Mustang Khola on old, outdated maps) through a sheer-sided, deep canyon before widening at the steel footbridge at Chele, where part of its flow funnels through a rock tunnel, and from this point the now wide river is called the Kali Gandaki on all maps. In Kagbeni a major tributary named Johng Khola, Kak Khola or Krishnaa descends from Muktinath.

The river then flows southward through a steep gorge known as the Kali Gandaki Gorge, or Andha Galchi, between the mountains Dhaulagiri (8167 m) to the west and Annapurna I (8091 m) to the east. If one measures the depth of a canyon by the difference between the river height and the heights of the highest peaks on either side, this gorge is the world’s deepest. The portion of the river directly between Dhaulagiri and Annapurna I (7 km downstream from Tukuche) is at an elevation of 2520 metres,[4] 5571 metres lower than Annapurna I. The river is older than the Himalayas. As tectonic activity forces the mountains higher, the river has cut through the uplift.

South of the gorge, the river is joined by Rahughat Khola at Galeshwor, Myagdi Khola at Beni, Modi Khola near Kushma and Badigaad at Rudrabeni above Ridi Bazaar. The river then turns east to run along the northern edge of the Mahabharat Range. The largest hydroelectricity project in Nepal is located along this stretch of the river. Turning south again and breaking through the Mahabharats, Kali Gandaki is then joined by a major tributary, the Trishuli, at Devighat, then by the East Rapti River draining the Inner Terai valley known as Chitwan. The Gandaki then crosses the outermost foothills of the Himalayas—Sivalik Hills—into the Terai plains of Nepal. From Devighat, the river flows southwest of Gaindakot town. The river later curves back towards the southeast as it enters India where it is called the Gandak.

Below Gaindakot the river is known as the Narayani or Sapt Gandaki (Seven Gandakis), for seven tributaries rising in the Himalaya or further north along the main Ganges-Brahmaputra divide. These are the Kali Gandaki, the Trishuli River, and the five main tributaries of the Trishuli known as the Daraudi, Seti, Madi, Marsyandi and Budhi.

 

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Lake Peipus, (Estonian: Peipsi järv, Pihkva järv; Russian: Псковско-Чудское озеро (Pskovsko-Chudskoe ozero), German: Peipussee) is the biggest transboundary lake in Europe on the border between Estonia (part of European Union) and Russia.

The lake is the fifth largest in Europe after Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega in Russia north of St. Petersburg, Lake Vänern in Sweden, and Lake Saimaa in Finland.

Lake Peipus is a remnant of a body of water which existed in this area during an Ice Age. It covers 3,555 km2, and has an average depth of 7.1 m, the deepest point being 15 m.[3][4] The lake has several islands and consists of 3 parts:

  • Lake Peipsi/Chudskoe (Estonian: Peipsi järv, Russian: Чудское озеро) is the northern part of the lake with the area of 2,611 km2 (73%).
  • Lake Pihkva/Pskovskoe (Estonian: Pihkva järv, Russian: Псковское озеро) is the southern part of the lake (area 708 km2 or 20%).
  • Lake Lämmijärv/Teploe (Estonian: Lämmijärv, Russian: Тёплое озеро) is the sound connecting both parts of the lake (area 236 km2 or 7%).

The lake is used for fishing and recreation, but suffered from some environmental degradation from Soviet era agriculture. Some 30 rivers and streams discharge into Lake Peipus. The largest rivers are the Emajõgi and the Velikaya River. The lake is drained by the Narva River.

 

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Langat, Malaysia
April 272014

Langat River is a river in Selangor state, Malaysia. The Langat River is 78 km long with a chatchment of 2350 km² and originates from the Titiwangsa Range at Gunung Nuang. It drains westward to the Straits of Malacca. The major tributaries of Langat River are the Sungai Semenyih and Sungai Labu.

 

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The Motueka River is located in the north of the South Island of New Zealand and is a popular tourist destination for watersports and fishing. The Motueka flows 116 kilometres (72 mi) from the mountains 40 km west of the city of Nelson in the southeast of the catchment and flows north to the Tasman Bay.

The Motueka is a large river with average annual flow of 59 cubic meters per second and a flow range from 6 to more than 2,100 cubic meters per second. The average monthly flow has seasonal variation and it at its highest in winter and spring. The mountain catchment areas to the west and southeast have the highest rainfall and provide most of the mean annual flow for the Motueka River. Significant flooding was a serious problem for the local population and a major flood in 1877 led to widespread erosion and changed the course of the river in several areas. There have since been serious flooding in January 1895, July 1929, June 1954 and April 1957 but this was thought to have been addressed when the Motueka Catchment Control Scheme was completed in 1982. In May 2010, however, twenty homes were flooded by the Motueka River in the Wangapeka area near Tapawera and residents had to be evacuated.

 

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The Murray River (River Murray in South Australia) is Australia’s longest river. At 2,508 kilometres (1,558 mi) in length, the Murray rises in the Australian Alps, draining the western side of Australia’s highest mountains and, for most of its length, meanders across Australia’s inland plains, forming the border between the states of New South Wales and Victoria as it flows to the northwest, before turning south for its final 500 kilometres (310 mi) or so into South Australia, reaching the ocean at Lake Alexandrina.

The water of the Murray flows through several lakes that fluctuate in salinity (and were often fresh until recent decades) including Lake Alexandrina and The Coorong before emptying through the Murray Mouth into the southeastern portion of the Indian Ocean, often referenced on Australian maps as the Southern Ocean, near Goolwa. Despite discharging considerable volumes of water at times, particularly before the advent of largescale river regulation, the Mouth has always been comparatively small and shallow.

As of 2010, the Murray River system receives 58 percent of its natural flow. It is perhaps Australia’s most important irrigated region, and it is widely known as the food bowl of the nation.

 

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The Ord River is a 320 kilometre long river in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. The river’s catchment covers 46,100 square kilometres (17,799 sq mi).

The Ord River Irrigation Scheme was built in stages during the 20th century. Australia’s largest artificial lake by volume, Lake Argyle was completed in 1971. The lower reaches of the river support an important wetland area known as the Ord River Floodplain, a protected area which contains numerous mangrove forests, lagoons, creeks, flats and extensive floodplains.

 

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The river rises in two headstreams in the Tian Shan Mountains in Kyrgyzstan and eastern Uzbekistan—the Naryn River and the Kara Darya which come together in the Uzbek part of the Fergana Valley—and flows for some 2,212 kilometres (1,374 mi) west and north-west through Uzbekistan and southern Kazakhstan to the remains of the Aral Sea. The Syr Darya drains an area of over 800,000 square kilometres (310,000 sq mi), but no more than 200,000 square kilometres (77,000 sq mi) actually contribute significant flow to the river. Its annual flow is a very modest  37 cubic kilometres (30,000,000 acre·ft) per year—half that of its sister river, the Amu Darya.

Along its course, the Syr Darya irrigates the most productive cotton-growing region in the whole of Central Asia, together with the towns of Kokand, Khujand, Kyzylorda and Turkestan.

Various local governments throughout history have built and maintained an extensive system of canals. These canals are of central importance in this arid region. Many fell into disuse in the 17th and early 18th cnetury, but the Khanate of Kokand rebuilt many in the 19th century, primarily along the Upper and Middle Syr Darya.

Massive expansion of irrigation canals in Middle and Lower Syr Darya during the Soviet period to water cotton and rice fields caused ecological damage to the area. The amount of water taken from the river was such that in some periods of the year, no water at all reaches the Aral Sea, similar to the Amu Darya situation in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

 

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Talise, Vanuatu
May 82014

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Tarim, China
April 252014

The Tarim Basin is an endorheic basin in northwest China occupying an area of about 906,500 km2 (350,000 sq mi). Located in China’s Xinjiang region, it is sometimes used metonymously for the southern half of the province, or Nanjiang. Its northern boundary is the Tian Shan mountain range and its southern boundary is the Kunlun Mountains on the edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The Taklamakan Desert dominates much of the basin. The historical Uyghur name for the Tarim Basin is Altishahr (六域), which means “six cities” in Uyghur.

The Tarim Basin is the result of an amalgamation between an ancient microcontinent and the growing Eurasian continent during the Carboniferous to Permian periods. At present, deformation around the margins of the basin is resulting in the microcontinental crust being pushed under Tian Shan to the north, and Kunlun Shan to the south.

A thick succession of Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic sedimentary rocks occupy the central parts of the basin, locally exceeding thicknesses of 15 km (9 mi). The source rocks of oil and gas tend to be Permian mudstones. Below this level is a complex Precambrian basement believed to be made up of the remnants of the original Tarim microplate, which accrued to the growing Eurasian continent in Carboniferous time. The snow on K2, the second highest mountain in the world, flows into glaciers which move down the valleys to melt. The melted water forms rivers which flow down the mountains and into the Tarim Basin, never reaching the sea. Surrounded by desert, some rivers feed the oases where the water is used for irrigation while others flow to salt lakes and marshes.

Lop Nur is a marshy, saline depression at the east end of the Tarim Basin. The Tarim River ends in Lop Nur.

The Tarim Basin is believed to contain large potential reserves of petroleum and natural gas. Methane comprises over 70 percent of the natural gas reserve, with variable contents of ethane (<1% ~18%) and propane (<0.5% ~9%). China National Petroleum Corporation’s comprehensive exploration of the Tarim basin between 1989 and 1995 led to the identification of 26 oil- and gas-bearing structures. These occur at deeper depths and in scattered deposits. Beijing aims to develop Xinjiang into China’s new energy base for the long run, supplying one-fifth of the country’s total oil supply by 2010, with an annual output of 35 million tonnes. On June 10, 2010 Baker Hughes announced an agreement to work with PetroChina Tarim Oilfield Co. to supply oilfield services, including both directional and vertical drilling systems, formation evaluation services, completion systems and artificial lift technology for wells drilled into foothills formations greater than 7,500 meters (24,600 feet) deep with pressures greater than 20,000 psi (1379 bar) and bottomhole temperatures of approximately 160 °C (320 °F). Electrical submersible pumping (ESP) systems will be employed to dewater gas and condensate wells.

 

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The Tully River is a river situated within the Cassowary Coast Region of North Queensland, named after William Alcock Tully, Surveyor General of Queensland from 1875 to 1889.

The Bruce Highway crosses the river south of Tully. Tully Gorge and Tully Falls are located on the river near Ravenshoe and preserved within the Tully Gorge National Park.

The Kareeya Hydro Power Station was built on the Tully River. In 1960 the Koombooloomba Dam was constructed on the Tully River.

 

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Walawe river is one of the main rivers in Sri Lanka which initiates from Adams Peak. It meets the Indian Ocean at the coastal town of Ambalantota.

 

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Sumatra (Indonesian: Sumatera), is an island in western Indonesia and part of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island that is entirely in Indonesia (two larger islands, Borneo and New Guinea, are shared between Indonesia and other countries) and the sixth largest island in the world at 480,847.74 km2 (including adjacent islands such as the Riau Islands and Bangga Belitung Islands), with a current population of over 50 million (54 million administratively, as Riau Islands and Bangka–Belitung Islands are included). Its biggest city is Medan with over 4 million in its metropolitan area.

Sumatra is an elongated landmass spanning a diagonal northwest-southeast axis. The Indian Ocean borders the west, northwest, and southwest sides of Sumatra with the island chain of Simeulue, Nias and Mentawai bordering the southwestern coast. On the northeast side the narrow Strait of Malacca separates the island from the Malay Peninsula, an extension of the Eurasian continent. On the southeast the narrow Sunda Strait separates Sumatra from Java. The northern tip of Sumatra borders the Andaman Islands, while on the lower eastern side are the islands of Bangka and Belitung, Karimata Strait and the Java Sea. The Bukit Barisan mountains, which contain several active volcanoes, form the backbone of the island, while the northeast sides are outlying lowlands with swamps, mangrove and complex river systems. The equator crosses the island at its center on West Sumatra and Riau provinces. The climate of the island is tropical, hot and humid with lush tropical rain forest originally dominating the landscape.

 

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Yasu River, Japan
April 202014

The Yasu River is located in Shiga Prefecture, Japan; it is the largest river to flow into Lake Biwa. It rises from Mount Gozaisho and flows through Kōka, Konan, Rittō, Moriyama and Yasu. It forked at the lower reaches and made a delta region, but they were combined in 1979.

 

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  • Aral Sea, Central Asia

    Aral Sea, Central Asia

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  • Brahmani River, India

    Brahmani River, India

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  • Burdekin River, Australia

    Burdekin River, Australia

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  • Chirchiq, Uzbekistan

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  • Davao, Philippines

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  • Fitzroy River, Australia

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  • Ganges, India

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  • Geumho River, Republic of Korea

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  • Indus, Pakistan

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  • Irtysh, China-Kazakhstan-Russia

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  • Kabul River, Afghanistan-Pakistan

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  • Kali Gandaki, Nepal

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  • Lake Peipsi, Estonia & Russia

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