How do People Use River Basins?

Since ancient times rivers have been the
location of human settlement. For example the Nile, the Tigris, and Euphrates rivers,
the Indus, the Huang He (Yellow River) The main reasons for this are as follows. Rivers are the
source of fresh drinking water. The flood plains of rivers provide areas of rich
fertile alluvial soils. Even today regions like the North China Plain are
intensively farmed. Rivers have also provided transport routes since ancient
times. Rivers also provide food from activities
such as fishing. In modern times rivers have been used for other purposes as
well. The energy produced from large volumes of moving water has led to the
building of hydroelectric power dams such as the giant three gorges dam in
China. The tourist industry uses rivers for scenic cruises. Unfortunately rivers
have also been seen as a convenient way of waste removal. This has lead to many
rivers becoming very polluted. Some industries choose to locate their
factories on the flat floodplains of estuaries. Estuaries are ideal for many
industries such as oil refineries as they have easy access to the sea for
transporting their goods. The land is flat, cheap and easy to
reclaim. Usually a local labor source is not too far away.
The shipbuilding industry is also located on the estuaries of many great
rivers. For example the large Guangzhou shipyards in China are located on the
Pearl River.

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