Importance of Rivers

Rivers are of immense importance geologically, biologically, historically and culturally. Although they contain only about 0.0001% of the total amount of water in the world at any given time, rivers are vital carriers of water and nutrients to areas all around the earth. They are critical components of the hydrological cycle, acting as drainage channels for surface water - the world's rivers drain nearly 75% of the earth's land surface. They provide habitat, nourishment and means of transport to countless organisms; their powerful forces create majestic scenery; they provide travel routes for exploration, commerce and recreation; they leave valuable deposits of sediments, such as sand and gravel; they form vast floodplains where many of our cities are built; and their power provides much of the electrical energy we use in our everyday lives. Rivers are central to many of the environmental issues that concern society, and they are studied by a wide range of specialists including hydrologists, engineers, ecologists and geomorphologists.