The river is large natural stream or mass of water flowing in the valley. Rivers their valley and the resultant features have both positive and negative influences on physical and human environment.
The following are the importance of rivers in Africa.
- River water is used for both industrial and domestic purpose. Water supply to many urban area is pumped from rivers. For example the water supplied to dare s salaam regional in Tanzania comes from river Ruvu.
- Water from rivers are suitable for irrigation since they are fresh water. Irrigation is helpful especially in dry areas as well as in other regional which receive inadequate rainfall. The river water is used to supplement rainfall in order to ensure continuous crop production throughout the year. Example of areas which practice irrigation include Gezira irrigation scheme in Sudan which depend on water of Blue Nile .
- Rivers can be used to transport people and goods (navigation). Navigable rivers or their section are used as transportation routes in many parts of the world. Some parts of the rivers Congo and the Nile are navigable.
- Some rivers provide port facilities, especially in their rias and estuaries. These drowned river mouths are deep and sheltered and therefore suitable for port development. Port Gentil on river Ogoye in Gabon and port Harcourt on Niger are examples of ports that have been developed on river mouth in Africa.
- Some rivers can be used as fishing ground. In Kenya fishing is carried out on river Tana and Nyando. Also fishing is also carried rivers such as Niger and Nile.
- Features formed by rivers for example waterfalls gorges, meanders, and those made by people like dams and water reservoir, are a tourist attractions. Many people visit areas such as kihansi waterfall in Tanzania and make cruises along river such Nile.
- Alluvium, which is deposited by the river during flooding, result in fertile soil which is exploited for agriculture. This is evident on the Nile valley and its deltas in Egypt and kiwira river in Tanzania.
- River water can be tapped for hydroelectric power production. This can occur by damming the river and positioning the hydroelectric power generator. Some river which has been tapped for hydroelectric power in Africa include the Nile River, river Pangani in Tanzania, the Zambezi, Congo, Orange, and Niger.
- Last but not least, some rivers form natural boundaries between administrative divisions such as districts, provinces, and countries. For example, river Congo is the boundary between the Congo and the democratic republic of Congo and the river Kagera is the boundary between Tanzania and Uganda.
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