River basin is the area drained by single river. River basin development is establishment of various programmes to tap various resources in the river basin. River basin development is conducted through river development project which are multipurpose project aimed at meeting many goals such as flood control, water supply, irrigation schemes, settlement and so forth. Example of river basin development project are Volta river project in Ghana, Orange river project in South Africa, Rufiji river basin development in Tanzania and Tennessee valley project in USA.
River basin development is advantageous to the people and economy of the country in the following ways:
- It help in control of floods to the place where they are established
- River basin development encourage the conservation of environment like control of soil erosion through tree planting
- River basin development project are used as research centers for studying ecosystem and their importance to human being.
- River basin development project are center hydro electric power generation
- River basin development project provide water for domestic use and industrial purposes
- They lead to improvement of navigation in respective areas, especially when dams are constructed.
- River basin development project provide water for irrigation schemes hence leading to expansion of farms and increased agricultural production.
- River basin development projects can lead to development of fishing industry especially after construction of dams.
The river basin development can also be disastrous in the following ways:
- It can lead to loss of biodiversity especially around area occupied by dam
- It can lead to outbreak of diseases like malaria and bilharzia
- People can be displaced to enable development of river basin
- Soil in irrigated areas can be exhausted due to intensive farming