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Most rivers and streams run dry every year

June 16, 2021

The flowing waters of surface rivers and streams efficiently transport sediment, organic material and nutrients, among other things, from hillsides and overland areas to downstream lakes, reservoirs and the ocean. Along the way, rivers and streams (hereafter referred to collectively as streams) provide important resources for our communities and support rich, complex ecosystems. Non-perennial streams, which do not flow year-round, are crucial in this context. However, because non-perennial streams are less reliable sources of surface water than perennial ones, they are less-well studied than their perennial counterparts. Writing in Nature, Messager et al.1 provide a much-needed estimate of the total proportion of the world’s stream network, by length, that is non-perennial — and find that most fall into this category.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2021
Title Most rivers and streams run dry every year
DOI 10.1038/d41586-021-01528-4
Authors Kristin Jaeger
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Nature
Series Number
Index ID 70224560
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Washington Water Science Center