English Free Article | Water | VOL. 13, ISSUE 81, November-December 2013 |

River System And Waterways of Some Countries In Asia

River System And Waterways of Some Countries In Asia

Myanmar (Burma)

Name: Ayeyarwady is commercially the most important river system

  • Use: The River provides means of communication and supports intensive agriculture along its plains.
  • Length: About 2173 km. The Inland Water Transport Authority of Myanmar is mandated to transport passengers and freight along the River. Pleasure cruises ply from Mandalay to Bagan, two cities in Myanmar.


  • Region: Mekong delta in the south and the Red River delta in the north
  • Use: Commercial and personal transport in the delta regions of the Mekong and Red River
  • Length: 40,000 km of waterways; only 8000 km are used commercially of which about 6000 km are overlooked by the Vietnam Inland Waterways Administration and the rest by local governments.


  • Region: Inland waterways transport is concentrated in four river system —the Chao Phraya, Pasak, Tha Chin and Mae Klong systems
  • Use: Chao Phraya River and Khlong Saen Saeb provides the major water transportation network in Bangkok where more than 360,000 passengers are ferried per day.
  • Length: Of the 4000 km, 3700 km are navigable.


  • Region: Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly river system, the Brahmaputra, the Barak river, the rivers in Goa, the backwaters of Kerala, inland waters in Mumbai and the deltaic regions of the Godavari-Krishna rivers are navigable commercially
  • Use: Transport of cargo and people along four identified routes under the Inland Waterways Authority of India. More than 70 mt of cargo in 2011-12 was shipped through these waterways.
  • Length: 14,500 km.

Also read about: Inland Waterways


  • Region: Limited to certain areas of Eastern Sumatra and Kalimantan
  • Use: Role of these inland waterways is minor as compared to road and rail due to the high seasonal variation in the level of water in many rivers.


  • Region: Central and south China, with a few streams in the north. Main channels—Yangtze, Xi River, Grand Canal
  • Use: The Yangtze, which carries one-third of the total volume of freight carried by river transport, is the most important navigable waterway in China; it is used for regular passenger and cargo services. The Xi River in south China and the world’s longest artificial waterway Grand Canal, which runs from the north to the south, are important for communication and transport.
  • Length: More than 125,000 km navigable waterways.

To know more about India’s waterway policy, click here.

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