The Paraná River is considered the third largest river in the American Continent, after the Mississippi in the United States and the Amazonas in Brazil. It is located in South America and it runs through Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, where it flows into another river called Río de la Plata. The two initial tributaries of the Paraná are the Paranaiba River and the Grande River, both in Brazil, but the most important tributary is the Paraguay River, located in homonymous country.

Through the Parana Delta and the Rio de la Plata estuary drains to the Atlantic Ocean the second major hydrographic basin of South America (La Plata Basin). From a geologic perspective, the complex system of the delta and the estuary are considered a dynamic sedimentary geologic-hydrologic unit which has a vital relevance not only for the region -a high populated area with more than 22 million inhabitants- but also for the hydrology of South American continent. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Rio de la Plata, the Amazon and the Orinoco carry into the Atlantic Ocean more than 30% of the renewable freshwater of the world.

Parana Delta

The Delta of the Paraná River is one of the largest coastal wetlands systems of Argentina, spreading over 320 km and covering a surface of 15000 km2. The Delta presents a variable width, from 18 Km up to 100 km, and according to landscape parameters and hydrologic regimes, it presents more than 10 landscape units distributed in 3 zones: Superior, Medium and Lower Delta. The Parana Delta is rich in biodiversity and natural resources and faces the pressures of urban growth and the consequences of climate changes. It is a natural capital which represents a valuable benefit for the human population due to the ecosystem's goods and services.

The high sediment transportation rate of the Parana River turns the delta into a changing territory which front is expanding towards the Rio de la Plata and it is expected to reach Buenos Aires city's coast in around 110 years. This future trend makes important to develop a study of the complete system taking into account the natural phenomenon, the relation with the dynamics of the urbanization processes and climate changes.
>> Read more: Overview of Parana Delta, Verónica M.E. Zagare


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  • Malvárez, A., 1997. El Delta del Río Paraná como mosaico de humedales, Laboratorio de Ecología Regional, Departamento de Ciencias Biológicas. Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires
  • Parker, G., Marcolini, S., 1992. Geomorfología del Delta del Paraná y su extensión hacia el Río de la Plata, Revista de la Asociación Geográfica Argentina No.47, Buenos Aires, pp. 243-249
  • Pittau, M., Sarubbi, A., Menéndez, A., 2004. Análisis del avance del frente y el incremento areal del Delta del Río Paraná, Instituto Nacional del Agua (INA), Buenos Aires.

General characteristics

  • Continent: South America
  • Location (river mouth): 34°16’S, 58°27’O
  • Basin of deposition of Parana River: Rio de la Plata
  • Basin of deposition of Rio de la Plata: Atlantic Ocean
  • Parana River length (km): 2570
  • Del Plata Basin area (10^3 km2): 3100
  • Parana River Basin area (10^3 km2): 1510
  • Delta area (km2): 15000
  • Major Cities (Parana Delta and Rio de la Plata): Buenos Aires, Rosario
  • Average rainfall (mm/y) : 1200
  • Annual average discharge (m3/s): 18000
  • Maximum discharge (m3/s): 50000
  • Sediment transportation: 1.600.000 ton/year

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