Paraná River

Paraná River

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The Paraná River is a river in south Central South America, running through Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, Paraguay
Paraguay
Paraguay , officially the Republic of Paraguay , is a landlocked country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the center of the...

 and Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 for some 4880 kilometres (3,032.3 mi). It is second in length only to the Amazon River
Amazon River
The Amazon of South America is the second longest river in the world and by far the largest by waterflow with an average discharge greater than the next seven largest rivers combined...

 among South American rivers. The name Paraná is an abbreviation of the phrase "para rehe onáva", which comes from the Tupi language and means "like the sea" (that is, "as big as the sea"). It merges first with the Paraguay River
Paraguay River
The Paraguay River is a major river in south central South America, running through Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina...

 and then farther downstream with the Uruguay River
Uruguay River
The Uruguay River is a river in South America. It flows from north to south and makes boundary with Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay, separating some of the Argentine provinces of the Mesopotamia from the other two countries...

 to form the Río de la Plata
Río de la Plata
The Río de la Plata —sometimes rendered River Plate in British English and the Commonwealth, and occasionally rendered [La] Plata River in other English-speaking countries—is the river and estuary formed by the confluence of the Uruguay River and the Paraná River on the border between Argentina and...

 and empties into the Atlantic Ocean.

Course


The course is formed at the confluence of the Paranaiba
Paranaíba River
The Paranaíba River is a Brazilian river whose source lies in the state of Minas Gerais in the Mata da Corda mountains, municipality of Rio Paranaíba, at an altitude of 1,148 meters; on the other face of this mountain chain are the sources of the Abaeté river, tributary of the São Francisco River...

 and Grande
Grande River
The Grande River is river in south-central Brazil. It rises in the Mantiqueira Mountains in the state of Minas Gerais and descends inland, west-northwestward. Its lower course marks a portion of the Minas Gerais-São Paulo border...

 rivers in southern Brazil. From the confluence the river flows in a generally southwestern direction for about 619 km (384.6 mi) before encountering the city of Saltos del Guaira, Paraguay. This was once the location of the Sete Quedas waterfall
Guaíra Falls
Guaíra Falls were a series of immense waterfalls on the Paraná River along the border between Brazil and Paraguay. The falls no longer exist, inundated in 1982 by the impoundment of the Itaipu Dam reservoir...

, where the Paraná fell over a series of seven cascades. This natural feature was said to rival the world famous Iguazu Falls
Iguazu Falls
Iguazu Falls, Iguassu Falls, or Iguaçu Falls are waterfalls of the Iguazu River located on the border of the Brazilian State of Paraná and the Argentine Province of Misiones. The falls divide the river into the upper and lower Iguazu. The Iguazu River originates near the city of Curitiba. It flows...

 to the south. The falls were flooded, however, by the construction of the Itaipu dam, which began operating in 1984.

For approximately the next 200 km (124.3 mi) the Paraná flows southward and forms a natural boundary between Paraguay and Brazil until the confluence with the Iguazu River
Iguazu River
The Iguazu River is a river in Brazil and Argentina. It is an important tributary of the Paraná River. The Iguazu River is long, with a drainage basin of .-Course:...

. Shortly upstream from this confluence, however, the river is dammed by the impressive Itaipu Dam, the second largest hydroelectric power station in the world (after the Three Gorges Dam
Three Gorges Dam
The Three Gorges Dam is a hydroelectric dam that spans the Yangtze River by the town of Sandouping, located in the Yiling District of Yichang, in Hubei province, China...

 in the People's Republic of China), and creating a massive, shallow reservoir behind it.

After merging with the Iguazu, the Paraná then becomes the natural border between Paraguay and Argentina. Overlooking the Paraná River from Encarnación, Paraguay
Encarnación, Paraguay
Encarnación is the capital city of the Paraguayan department of Itapúa, located at the south of the department, on the right-hand shore of the Paraná River, opposite Posadas, Argentina...

, across the river, is downtown Posadas, Argentina. The river continues its general southward course for about 468 km (290.8 mi) before making a gradual turn to the west for another 820 km (509.5 mi), and then encounters the Paraguay River, the largest tributary along the course of the river. Before this confluence the river passes through a second major hydroelectric project, the Yaciretá dam
Yaciretá Dam
The Yacyretá Dam or Hydroelectric Power Station Jasyretâ-Apipé is a dam and hydroelectric power plant built over the waterfalls of Jasyretâ-Apipé in the Paraná River, between the Argentine Province of Corrientes and the Paraguayan City of Ayolas. The dam is named for Yacyretâ Island just upstream,...

, a joint project between Paraguay and Argentina. The massive reservoir formed by the project has been the source of a number of problems for people living along the river, most notably the poorer merchants and residents in the low lying areas of Encarnación
Encarnación
Encarnación means incarnation in Spanish.Encarnación may also refer to:People:* Edwin Encarnación , Major League Baseball third baseman* José Encarnación, Jr...

, a major city on the southern border of Paraguay. River levels rose dramatically upon completion of the dam, flooding out large sections of the city's lower areas.

From the confluence with the Paraguay River, the Paraná again turns to the south for another approximately 820 km (509.5 mi) through Argentina, making a slow turn back to the east near the city of Rosario
Rosario
Rosario is the largest city in the province of Santa Fe, Argentina. It is located northwest of Buenos Aires, on the western shore of the Paraná River and has 1,159,004 residents as of the ....

 for the final stretch of less than 500 km (310.7 mi) before merging with the Uruguay River to form the Río de la Plata
Río de la Plata
The Río de la Plata —sometimes rendered River Plate in British English and the Commonwealth, and occasionally rendered [La] Plata River in other English-speaking countries—is the river and estuary formed by the confluence of the Uruguay River and the Paraná River on the border between Argentina and...

 and emptying into the Atlantic Ocean. During the part of its course downstream from the city of Diamante, Entre Ríos
Diamante, Entre Ríos
Diamante is a city in the west of the province of Entre Ríos, Argentina, on the eastern shore of the Paraná River. It has about 20,000 inhabitants as per the . It is the head town of the Diamante Department....

, it splits into several arms and forms the Paraná Delta
Paraná Delta
The Paraná Delta is the delta of the Paraná River in Argentina. The Paraná flows north–south and becomes an alluvial basin between the Argentine provinces of Entre Ríos and Santa Fe, then emptying into the Río de la Plata....

, a long flood plain which reaches up to 60 km in width.

Uses


The Rio Paraná along with its tributaries creates a massive watershed
Drainage basin
A drainage basin is an extent or an area of land where surface water from rain and melting snow or ice converges to a single point, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another waterbody, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, wetland, sea, or ocean...

 that spreads throughout much of the south central part of the continent, essentially encompassing all of Paraguay, much of southern Brazil, northern Argentina, and even reaching into Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

. If the Uruguay River is counted as a tributary to the Paraná, this watershed extends to cover much of Uruguay
Uruguay
Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

 as well. The volume of water flowing into the Atlantic Ocean through the Río de la Plata is roughly equal to the volume at the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 delta
River delta
A delta is a landform that is formed at the mouth of a river where that river flows into an ocean, sea, estuary, lake, reservoir, flat arid area, or another river. Deltas are formed from the deposition of the sediment carried by the river as the flow leaves the mouth of the river...

. This watershed services a number of large cities, including São Paulo
São Paulo
São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil, the largest city in the southern hemisphere and South America, and the world's seventh largest city by population. The metropolis is anchor to the São Paulo metropolitan area, ranked as the second-most populous metropolitan area in the Americas and among...

, Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

, Asunción
Asunción
Asunción is the capital and largest city of Paraguay.The "Ciudad de Asunción" is an autonomous capital district not part of any department. The metropolitan area, called Gran Asunción, includes the cities of San Lorenzo, Fernando de la Mora, Lambaré, Luque, Mariano Roque Alonso, Ñemby, San...

 and Brasília
Brasília
Brasília is the capital city of Brazil. The name is commonly spelled Brasilia in English. The city and its District are located in the Central-West region of the country, along a plateau known as Planalto Central. It has a population of about 2,557,000 as of the 2008 IBGE estimate, making it the...

.

The Paraná and its tributaries are a source of income and even daily sustenance for a number of fishermen who live along its banks; some fish species (such as the surubí and the sábalo
Prochilodus lineatus
Prochilodus lineatus is a South American species of ray-finned fish that inhabits the basin of the Paraná River and the Paraguay River in the Argentine Mesopotamia and Paraguay, the Pilcomayo River in Bolivia, and the Paraíba do Sul River in Brazil...

) are commercially important and exploited for massive internal consumption or for export
Export
The term export is derived from the conceptual meaning as to ship the goods and services out of the port of a country. The seller of such goods and services is referred to as an "exporter" who is based in the country of export whereas the overseas based buyer is referred to as an "importer"...

.

Much of the length of the Paraná is navigable and is used as an important waterway linking inland cities in Argentina and Paraguay to the ocean, providing deep water ports in many of these cities. The construction of massive hydroelectric dams along the river's length has blocked its use as a shipping corridor to cities further upstream, but the economic impact of those dams is considered to offset this. The Yacyretá
Yacyretá Dam
The Yacyretá Dam or Hydroelectric Power Station Jasyretâ-Apipé is a dam and hydroelectric power plant built over the waterfalls of Jasyretâ-Apipé in the Paraná River, between the Argentine Province of Corrientes and the Paraguayan City of Ayolas. The dam is named for Yacyretâ Island just upstream,...

 and Itaipu dams on the Paraguay border have made the small, largely undeveloped nation the world's largest exporter of hydroelectric power.

Links across the Paraná



The Argentine course of the Paraná is crossed by the following bridges, beginning upstream:
  • The Friendship Bridge
    Friendship Bridge (Paraguay–Brazil)
    The Friendship Bridge is an arch bridge connecting the Brazilian city of Foz do Iguaçu and the Paraguayan city of Ciudad del Este.-History and importance:...

     links Ciudad del Este
    Ciudad del Este
    Ciudad del Este is the second largest city in Paraguay and capital of Alto Paraná department, located at the Rio Paraná....

    , (Paraguay) and Foz do Iguaçu
    Foz do Iguaçu
    Foz do Iguaçu is the 7th largest city in Paraná state, Brazil, with a population of 255,900 inhabitants. It is located approximately 650 km west of Curitiba, Parana's capital city, being the westernmost city in that state...

    , (Brazil) and, though not passing over Argentine waters, the bridge is critical for the Triple Frontier
    Triple Frontier
    The Triple Frontier is a tri-border area along the junction of Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil, where the Iguazú and Paraná rivers converge. Near the convergence are the cities of Ciudad del Este, Alto Paraná; Puerto Iguazú, Misiones and Foz do Iguaçu, Paraná...

     area these cities share with Puerto Iguazú
    Puerto Iguazú
    Puerto Iguazú is a frontier city in the province of Misiones, Argentina. With a population of 82.227 ,it is the fifth largest city in the Province, after Posadas, Oberá, Eldorado and San Vicente....

    , Argentina.
  • San Roque González de Santa Cruz Bridge
    San Roque González de Santa Cruz Bridge
    The San Roque González de Santa Cruz Bridge, is a long cable-stayed bridge that crosses the Paraná River between the cities of Posadas, capital of Misiones Province, Argentina and Encarnación, Paraguay, capital of the Paraguayan department of Itapúa. The main bridge is long and the approaching...

    , between Posadas
    Posadas, Misiones
    Posadas is the capital city of the Argentine province of Misiones, located at the south of the province, on the left-hand shore of the Paraná River, opposite Encarnación, Paraguay. The city has an area of 965 km² and a population of 323,739 ....

    , capital of Misiones Province
    Misiones Province
    Misiones is one of the 23 provinces of Argentina, located in the northeastern corner of the country in the Mesopotamiсa region. It is surrounded by Paraguay to the northwest, Brazil to the north, east and south, and Corrientes Province of Argentina to the southwest.- History :The province was...

    , Argentina and Encarnación, Paraguay
    Encarnación, Paraguay
    Encarnación is the capital city of the Paraguayan department of Itapúa, located at the south of the department, on the right-hand shore of the Paraná River, opposite Posadas, Argentina...

    , capital of the Paraguayan department of Itapúa
  • General Belgrano Bridge
    General Belgrano Bridge
    The General Manuel Belgrano Bridge is a road bridge that joins the Argentine cities of Corrientes and Resistencia over the course of the Paraná River...

     between Resistencia
    Resistencia, Chaco
    Resistencia is the capital and largest city in the province of Chaco, in northeastern Argentina. At the 2001 census, the population of the Resistencia city proper was 274,490 inhabitants. It is the anchor of a slightly larger metropolitan area, Greater Resistencia, which comprises three more...

     (capital of Chaco
    Chaco Province
    Chaco is an Argentine province located in the north of the country, near the border with Paraguay. Its capital is Resistencia on the Paraná River opposite the city of Corrientes...

    ) and Corrientes
    Corrientes
    Corrientes is the capital city of the province of Corrientes, Argentina, located on the eastern shore of the Paraná River, about from Buenos Aires and from Posadas, on National Route 12...

     (capital of Corrientes
    Corrientes Province
    Corrientes is a province in northeast Argentina, in the Mesopotamia region. It is surrounded by : Paraguay, the province of Misiones, Brazil, Uruguay, and the provinces of Entre Rios, Santa Fe and Chaco.-History:...

    ).
  • Hernandarias Subfluvial Tunnel, which runs under the river between Santa Fe
    Santa Fe, Argentina
    Santa Fe is the capital city of province of Santa Fe, Argentina. It sits in northeastern Argentina, near the junction of the Paraná and Salado rivers. It lies opposite the city of Paraná, to which it is linked by the Hernandarias Subfluvial Tunnel. The city is also connected by canal with the...

     (capital of Santa Fe
    Santa Fe Province
    The Invincible Province of Santa Fe, in Spanish Provincia Invencible de Santa Fe , is a province of Argentina, located in the center-east of the country. Neighboring provinces are from the north clockwise Chaco , Corrientes, Entre Ríos, Buenos Aires, Córdoba, and Santiago del Estero...

    ) and Paraná (capital of Entre Ríos
    Entre Ríos Province
    Entre Ríos is a northeastern province of Argentina, located in the Mesopotamia region. It borders the provinces of Buenos Aires , Corrientes and Santa Fe , and Uruguay in the east....

    ).
  • Rosario-Victoria Bridge
    Rosario-Victoria Bridge
    Rosario-Victoria Bridge is the informal name of the physical connection between the Argentine cities of Rosario and Victoria ....

     between Rosario
    Rosario
    Rosario is the largest city in the province of Santa Fe, Argentina. It is located northwest of Buenos Aires, on the western shore of the Paraná River and has 1,159,004 residents as of the ....

    , Santa Fe
    Santa Fe Province
    The Invincible Province of Santa Fe, in Spanish Provincia Invencible de Santa Fe , is a province of Argentina, located in the center-east of the country. Neighboring provinces are from the north clockwise Chaco , Corrientes, Entre Ríos, Buenos Aires, Córdoba, and Santiago del Estero...

    , and Victoria, Entre Ríos
    Victoria, Entre Ríos
    Victoria is a city in the southwest of the province of Entre Ríos, Argentina. It is located on the eastern shore of the Paraná River, opposite Rosario, Santa Fe, to which it is connected since 2003 by the Rosario-Victoria Bridge .The site of a 1750 defeat of a native uprising and an 1810 oratory to...

    .
  • Zárate-Brazo Largo Bridge
    Zárate-Brazo Largo Bridge
    The Zárate-Brazo Largo Bridges are two cable-stayed road and railway bridges in Argentina, crossing the Paraná River between the cities of Zárate, Buenos Aires Province, and Brazo Largo, Entre Ríos Province....

     between Zárate, Buenos Aires
    Zárate, Buenos Aires
    Zárate is a city in the northeast of the . It lies on the western shore of the Paraná River, from Buenos Aires. Its population as per the is 101,271 inhabitants. It is the head town and the only city in the partido of the same name....

     and the Province of Entre Ríos.


Additionally There is a bridge Reconquista, Santa Fe
Reconquista, Santa Fe
Reconquista is a city in the north of the , from the provincial capital. It is the head town of the General Obligado Department, and it has 66,187 inhabitants according to the ....

 and Goya, Corrientes
Goya, Corrientes
Goya is a city in the south-west of the province of Corrientes in the Argentine Mesopotamia. It has about 87,000 inhabitants as of the .The city lies on the eastern shore of the Paraná River, opposite Reconquista, Santa Fe, 222 kilometres south from the provincial capital and 715 kilometres...

 is under study. Also, as recent as 1998 there were joint studies carried out by the governments of Uruguay and Argentina for the construction of a bridge between the two countries over the Río de la Plata
Río de la Plata
The Río de la Plata —sometimes rendered River Plate in British English and the Commonwealth, and occasionally rendered [La] Plata River in other English-speaking countries—is the river and estuary formed by the confluence of the Uruguay River and the Paraná River on the border between Argentina and...

estuary, the exact location was not decided.

External links