Indian River System

Sandarbha Desk
Sandarbha Desk


TERMINOLOGY ( River System) 

  • River System– A river alongwith its tributaries.
  • Drainage– the river system of an area
  • Drainage Basin– the area drained by a single river system. It is also called a river basin or a catchment area.
  • Water Divide– An upland, a mountain or any other elevated area separating two drainage basins.
  • Perennial– rivers having water throughout the year

DRAINAGE PATTERN ( River System ) 

(a)                      (c)


(b)                      (d)

(a) Dendritic Drainage- The stream with its tributaries resemble the branches of a tree. It develops where the river channel follows the slope of the terrain.

(b) Rectangular Drainage- It develops on a strongly jointed rocky terrain.

(c) Trellis Drainage- A river joined by its tributaries at approximately right angles.

(d) Radial Drainage- It develops when streams flow in different directions from a central peak or dome like structure.

A combination of several patterns may be found in the same drainage basin.

INDIAN RIVERS– They are divided into two major groups

  1. Himalayan Rivers
  • Most of the Himalayan rivers are perennial (receiving water from rain + melted snow)
  • They have long courses from their source to the sea.
  • They perform intensive erosional activity in their upper courses and carry huge loads of silt and sand.
  • In the middle and the lower courses, these rivers form meanders, oxbow lakes and many other depositional features in their floodplains.
  • They have well developed deltas.
  • They are antecedent rivers where a part of a river slope and the surrounding area gets uplifted but the river continues to stick to its original slope. This is also referred to as Inconsequent drainage.
  • They are flood-prone because of shifting of course.
  • Waterfalls are present only in the youthful stage i.e. where they originate.
  • Navigable ( Allahabad to Hugli ; Sadia to Dubri)
  • They can be easily diverted for irrigation.
  • Indus River System
  • Ganga River System
  • Brahmaputra River system

2. Peninsular Rivers

  • They are mostly seasonal in nature as their flow is dependent on rainfall.
  • They have shorter and shallower courses and do not have a broad catchment area.
  • They are superimposed in nature.
  • They are not flood-prone as they have hard plateau rocks below. Since it is difficult to erode hard rocks so they cannot shift their courses.
  • Because of hard rocks, waterfalls can be present at any course of the river, even in the mature stage.
  • These are not navigable.
  • River basins are located on a higher plateau so it is not affordable to diver them for irrigation
  • Most of the rivers of Peninsular India originate in the Western Ghats and flow towards the Bay of Bengal.
  • However, some of them originate in the Central Highlands and flow towards the West.
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