Important concepts

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Important concepts

  • Drainage basin
  • Catchment area

A area drained by a river and all its tributaries.



  • Watershed

An area or ridge of land that separates waters flowing to different rivers, basins, or seas.


  • River system

A river system is defined as a group of rivers discharging water by way of a common flow or system of channels into a sea or lake. It usually consists of the main river (the trunk of the system) and primary, secondary and later-order tributaries.

  • River Source

The  River Source is the furthest point from which water could possibly flow

  • Tributary

A tributary is a stream or river that flows into a main, or parent river.

  • Confluence

A confluence, where two or more bodies of water meet together, usually refers to the joining of tributaries.

  • River mouth

A river mouth or stream mouth is a part of a stream where it flows into the sea, river, lake, reservoir or ocean.



  • Water table

The level below which the ground is saturated with water.

  • Groundwater

Water held underground in the soil or in pores and crevices in rock.


  • Surface run-off

Surface run-off is water, from rain, snow-melt, or other sources, that flows over the land surface.


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Geography teacher at heart and author of Account Manager for Passionate about South Africa!