Pakistan has the widest irrigation system in the world. The river system of Pakistan originates from the snow-covered Himalayan and the Karakoram range. There are five major rivers of Pakistan which are filled by several small rivers. Pakistan’s river system consists of more than 60 small and large rivers. Two-thirds of the water supplied for irrigation schemes and in homes comes from the Indus River and its tributaries. The most widely spread canal system is of great importance and supplement to the agriculture of the country. Among the available resources of water in Pakistan, the river water is the biggest one. Pakistan is the 3rd largest agriculturally based economy in the world and rivers are the most important sources of water used in agriculture for irrigation and other domestic uses, is Pakistan’s longest and largest river. This is a list of some rivers wholly or partly in Pakistan.
The Indus river is the longest river in Pakistan, originating from the Himalayan region. The Indus River is a major river in Asia which flows through Pakistan. It also has courses through western Tibet and Northern India. The river runs for about 1,988 miles, from Lake Manasarovar in Tibet to Latah, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, then through Punjab to pour to the Arabian Sea near Karachi. It is also the world’s 21st largest river in terms of annual water flow. The Indus River system comprises of three major reservoirs, 16 Barrages, 2 head-works, 2 Siphons across major rivers 12 inter link canals, 44 canal systems (23 in Punjab, 14 in Sindh, 5 in Khyber P and 2 in Balochstan) and more than 107000 water courses. The Indus River fulfils the water requirements of Pakistan and is the main support for agriculture. The delta of Indus River has an amazing history of culture and civilization hidden in the remains of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro. The civilization whose remains have been found in these areas are 15,000 years ago in history. With a total length of 3,180 kilometres, it is also Pakistan’s lifeline.
Length Of Indus River – 2700 Km.
Catchments area – 404220 Km.
Annual Average flow – 48 MAF.
Jhelum River is a river that flows in India and Pakistan. It is the largest and most western of the five rivers of Punjab, and passes through Jhelum District. River Jhelum is nearly 774 kilometres long and is the tributary of River Chenab. Jhelum originates from the south-eastern part of Kashmir valley and flows through Srinagar before entering Pakistan. River Jhelum is the second river of Punjab and like other five rivers, this river also flows both in Pakistan and India. This river has a fascinating history of name Vitasta (Sanskrit) associated with one of Hinduism idols Shiva. There are many dams and barrages constructed on the river Jhelum and Mangla dam was built in 1967 being the largest earth-fill in the world. Barrages on River Jhelum include Rasul and Trimmu barrages. Along its journey, it is joined by the largest tributary of the Neelam River near Muzaffarabad. The river finally ends up in Sutlej to finally join the Indus River. The river is accompanied by the beautiful valleys and passages from its start in Kashmir till its end in Indus.
Total length – 725 km
Length in Pakistan – 379 miles
Catchment Area – 21359 miles
Annual Average flow – 11.85 MAF
River Sutlej longest of the rivers that give Punjab (meaning “Fiver River”) originates in western Tibet in the Kailas mountain ranges. The river flows through India, Pakistan, and China. In Pakistan, It is located north of the Vindhya Range, south of the Hindu Kush segment of the Himalayas, and east of the Central Sulaiman Range in Pakistan. Some 550 kilometres long, Sutlej is also called as the Red River. Originating from a lake in Tibet, this river has a rich Tibet history as the capital of Tibet Empire was built on its bank in Tibet. From Tibet, it enters India and after passing through many cities enters Pakistan and flows through Kasur and Bahawalpur before finally falling into Panjand River in Uch sharif. Some 550 kilometres long, Sutlej is also called as the Red River. The Kol Dam and Baspa Dam are the most prominent projects across Sutlej. It also played a role in the timber trade of the Hamirpur and Bilaspur where the logs of deodar were transported from one location to another. Cultivation of fruits like grapes, apples, and apricots depended on the water from Sutlej.
Total length –1450 km
Length in Pakistan –526 km
Catchment Area –65932 km
Annual Average flow –0.021 MAF
The Chenab River flows through the towns of Jammu and Kashmir and it is shared between Pakistan and India Unlike other rivers the River originates as two rivers; the Chandra and Bhaga, in the Himalayas. The Chandra and Bhaga rivers in the upper Himalayas join to form the Chenab River. Chenab flows through Jammu and Kashmir. Like other rivers, this river has also chapters of history associated with it. The river is associated with the city of Alexandria which Alexander the great built on its bank in Uch Sharif in Pakistan. In enters Pakistan through Sialkot near Diawara Village. The river’s major portion is given to India in Indus water treaty. Many dams have been built which also serve as recreational places for the tourists. The Jhelum River joins it at the Trimmu and then merges with the Sutlej in Uch Sharif in Pakistan. The building of dams along the Chenab River has raised concerns in Pakistan as they fear that water flow will reduce, and this might affect their irrigation schemes.
Length in Pakistan – 724 km
Catchment Area – 41656 km
Annual Average flow –12.38 MAF
Ravi is another famous river from rivers of Punjab and is famous as the famous city of Mughal era Lahore is on its bank. The Ravi is the smallest of the five main eastern tributaries of Indus. It rises in the Himalayan in Himachal Pardesh (India) and flows west – Northwest past Chamba, turning Southwest at the boundary of Jammu and Kashmir. After it flows through south-west region of Indian Punjab, it moves along the Indo-Pak border and enters Pakistan and merges with Chenab. River Ravi is nearly 720 kilometres long. It is an integral part of both countries. Many dams have been built on the Indian side of this river as this river is allocated to India in Indus water treaty.
Length in Pakistan – 675 km
Catchment Area – 25185 km
Annual Average flow – 1.47 MAF.
Hub River is located in Lasbela, Balochistan, Pakistan. Hub is a city in Sindh and is the final destination of this river and so got its name from it. Hub river starts from the Pab Range in the south eastern balochistan and continues with the border of Sindh it reaches Hub and then falls into the Arabian Sea. Alexander mentioned this river in his books of history as he came across this river after conquering Northeastern part of India. This river is also mentioned by the name of Oreitans in some books of history.
Length in Pakistan – 56 km
Catchment Area –12,000 km
Annual Average flow –1.1 MAF
Gomal river is 400 Km long and is flows between Afghanistan and Pakistan. the river lends its name to the Gomal University in Dera Ismail Khan. This is another famous river to which many roads have been named in Afghanistan and Pakistan The river originates from the springs of the famous and historical city of Ghazni. After passing through many areas in Afghanistan, the river comes in South Waziristan in Pakistan before finally forming a boundary between Khyber-PakhtunKhwa and Balochistan.
gilgit River is also refereed as the Ghizar River. It is a Tributary of the river Indus flowing past the town of gilgit. The river as evident by its name is the river that flows through the beautiful paradise city of Gilgit in northern areas of Pakistan. The river starts from the famous glaciers of Shandur which is famous for holding annual polo festival which is the highest place to have polo sports on it in the world.
Swat River is an important river in the Pakistan originating from the Hindukush Mountains fed by the glaciers of this area. As evident by its name it is an integral part of the beautiful city of Swat providing the major portion of irrigation water to swat and Malakand. The river is a basic part of the beautiful scenery of Swat which attracts a large number of tourists throughout the year.
The Kabul River is 435 miles long emerging from the Hindu Kush Mountains in Afghanistan and then emptying to the Indus River in Attock, Pakistan. The major tributaries of Kabul River are the Kunar, Bara, Swat, longer, and Panjshir. In the summer the river swells and floods its banks due to the melting snows in the Hindu Kush. The Kunar tributary carries more water than the Kabul. River Kabul has many dams constructed along its course. In Pakistan, the Warsak Dam which is nearly 20km in the North West city of Peshawar is the most significant. The settlements and town of Kabul take the name from the river.
Astor River is a tributary of the Indus River and one of the rivers draining the Deosai Plateau, running through Astore Valley. The river originates from western slopes of Burzil Pass. Astor river joins Gilgit River at coordinates 34°00′N 74°41′E.
The Shingo River is a tributary of the Suru River, and flows through the Ladakh region. The Shingo river enters India from Pakistan-administered Kashmir and meets the Dras River, coming from Dras. 5km from Kargil the merged river meets the Suru River and again re-enters Pakistani territory. The waters are crystal clear on account of it being formed from the melting of snow! Aesthetically, they change their colours from Blue to Green and vice versa in line with the light of the day. The Shingo river is clearer than other rivers in Ladakh because it is formed from melting ice.
Most of the rivers in Pakistan also flow into India. To promote peace and avoid political or social rivalry between the two countries water treaties were signed to determine which waters belong to which country. For example, the Indus Waters Treaty where the waters of Chenab are allocated to Pakistan even though it is a major river in India. India retained the right to use the western waters for non-irrigation projects while Pakistan was to irrigate using the rivers of Jhelum, Chenab, and the Indus. India has control of the Punjab, Sutlej, Beas, and Ravi for irrigation while Pakistan is not allowed to irrigate using these rivers.