AMAZON RIVER (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env and Eco)

News-CRUX-10     23rd October 2023        

Context: Recently, the Amazon, which holds 20 percent of all freshwater in the world, has faced an alarming water crisis, leaving most houses in the region without running water due to a record severe drought.

Key Points of Study

  • Drought in the Amazon has led to historically low water levels in many tributaries, with the main stem of the Amazon river dropping daily, causing a significant transformation of the landscape.
  • Abnormal warming of the Atlantic Ocean, combined with El Niño, is contributing to the severity and potential prolongation of the drought.
  • Experts warn that if the anomalous warming of the Atlantic continues, the extreme drought in the Amazon may persist until mid-2024.
  • The drought is causing a human and environmental tragedy, particularly affecting socio-economically vulnerable populations in the Western Amazon region.
  • Large-scale deforestation, illegal timber exportation, cattle grazing, and soybean plantations have contributed to the loss of water sources in the region, worsening the drought's impact.
  • The Amazon's resilience is at risk, potentially leading to desertification and a point of no return for the rainforest.

Amazon River

  • About: It is the greatest river of South America and the largest drainage system in the world in terms of the volume of its flow and the area of its basin.
  • Course: Its excursion begins in the Andes Mountains, high in the Andes.
  • Coverage Areas: The Amazon River Basin spans across several South American countries including Venezuela, Suriname, Peru, Guyana, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, and Bolivia.
  • Distance: 6,400 kilometers
  • Tributaries: It contains about 1,100 tributaries.

o Among the numerous notable tributaries are the Rio Negro, the Madeira River, and the Xingu River.

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