Rivers have always been a go to source of water for home, agriculture,and industrial use. For years they have thrived and been sufficient to for all these activities. However, with the increased populations, temperatures and reducing water catchment areas, these major sources of water are dwindling. Here is a list of the highly affected rivers.

  • Colorado River, United States

The Colorado river is one of the longest and largest river in North America. The river covers a distance of  1,450 miles (2,330 kilometers) from the Rocky mountains to the Gulf of California. During it’s flow, the river provides sustainability to over 30 million people. However, due to the many diversions , damming and use for agriculture, the river rarely reaches the ocean. On the contrary , the river has been receiving enough attention to rejuvenate it.

The Colorado river
An aerial view of the Colorado river
  • Indus River, Pakistan-India

The Indus river is the holy river that runs from Pakistan to India. It covers a length of 2,880 km (1789 miles) and feeds an estimated population of 200 million people. Accoriding to a report by the national geographic;

The Indus is one of the great rivers of the world, but it is now so exploited that it no longer flows into the ocean at the Port of Karachi.

The rice paddies that used to sustain the enormous population have now dwindled as the water levels reduce and become so polluted that they cannot be used to grow food. The rich have also been reported to siphoning water out of the river reducing the volume flowing downwards.

The Indus River
Human Activity in the Indus River
  • Amu Darya River, Central Asia

The Amu Darya River, which is part of the Aral sea is under siege. The river, which flows through Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, is 1,500 miles (2,414 kilometers) long. The river, which is part of the Aral sea serves millions of people who live in the many towns along the river. Located in the Soviet Steppe, many dams, 20,000 miles of canals, 45 dams, and more than 80 reservoirs we built in the 1960’s  to irrigate sprawling fields of cotton and wheat in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. These schemes are so inefficient that the river no longer reaches the Aral sea. Sadly enough, it ends 70 miles (110 kilometers) away from the sea.

Image result for amu darya river
A section of the Amu Darya river showing the dwindling water levels

The Aral Sea, on the other hand, has lost its former glory of being among the largest water bodies in the soviet since water was not brought by the Amu River. The sea now holds about a tenth of the original volume of the water. According to the national geographic report;

 Evaporation concentrated the salts into the small lakes. Millions of fish died, coastlines receded miles from towns, and those few people who remained were plagued with toxic dust storms, the residue of industrial agriculture and weapons testing in the area.

Before and After satellite image of the Aral sea
Before (left) and After (right) satellite image of the Aral sea
  • Rio Grande River, North America

One of the longest rivers in the Northern Part of America, it flows 1,885-mile (3,033-kilometer) from southwestern Colorado to the Gulf of Mexico. It also forms the border between Texas and Mexico. However, the former beacon of hope is now less grande (pun intended) due to exhaustion from both sides of the border. Less than a fifth of the river rarely reaches the ocean. Not only has the human activity played a huge role in the drying up of the river, it has also been invaded by algae. The expanding populations have now made the situation more dire to the point of diverging bird species that used to quench their thirst there.

Dry section of the Rio Grande River
Dry section of the Rio Grande River
  • Yellow River, China

Being the second longest river after the Yangtze, it ha been part of the Chinese civilization for years. However, the river’s future is flowing by. Since the 70’s the river has been drying up due to water diversion. Its water has been used for extensive farming leaving its lower banks dry with salt.

An aerial view of the Yellow River
An aerial view of the Yellow River
  • Murray River, Australia

The Murray is Australia’s longest and arguably most important river, stretching for 1,476 miles (2,375 kilometers) from the Australian Alps across the inland plains to the Indian Ocean near Adelaide.Disruptions and diversions have reduced the flow so much that the mouth of the river closed due to silt formation at the beginning of the 21st century. Just like all the other rivers, the Murray produces an estimated 40% of water for drinking while the other is used for farming.The Murray, also faces other serious environmental threats, including polluted runoff, especially from farms in four Australian states, and introduction of invasive species, especially the European carp.

Water Diversion in the Murray River
Water Diversion in the Murray River

It is sad to see the world’s largest rivers drying up not only because of climate change but also to exploitation by human activity. More measures should be put in place to save these winding rivers.