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What is meant by a Water Divide?

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  • Last Updated : 03 Aug, 2022
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An elevated area or highlands or uplands, such as a mountain, a hill, a plateau, terrain, or any other land area higher than the land in its surrounding, separates the two water basins and divides the basin into two parts. Such highlands are known as the water divide. Water divides are also known by various names such as watersheds, ridgeline, water parting, and land elevations.

On rugged lands, the splits are along the ridges of the terrain and can take the form of a single chain of hills or mountains known as dividing range or split chains. Separations can be difficult to see on flat terrain, especially if the ground is wetlands.

Importance of Water Divide

  • These divisions can occur due to the valleys, and districts that cause tribes and groups of people to settle in banks. For example – Ambala city is located between the Indus River and the Ganga River.
  • The importance of the basin is as follows: It forms a boundary between the two valleys. Precipitation is received separately from both valleys. This prevents the two bodies of water from interfering with each other and flowing separately.
  • Sometimes water divide can form natural boundaries that can be defined as political boundaries between two countries or two cities of a particular country.

Types of water divide

Different types of water divide are characterized on the basis that how the water divide converges. 

  1. Continental Water Divide: Continental divide, is a division of water where water flows into different seas on both sides of it. Example – Congo-Nile divide.
  2. Major Water Divide: The major divide is that in which the water on either side never meets, but instead converges on the same sea.                                                                          Example – Yellow river basin and Yangtze.
  3.  Minor Water Divide: Minor divides are where the water eventually flows into the confluence of rivers on both sides. Example – Mississippi River and Missouri drainage Divide.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: Write an example of a water divide.


Ambara is an example of a water divide. It is located between the Indus and Ganges rivers and separates the Ganges river network from the Indus river network.

Question 2: What is a triple divide.


A triple divide or triple watershed is a point on the Earth’s surface where three drainage basins meet. A triple divide results from the intersection of two drainage divides. Triple divides range from prominent mountain peaks to minor side peaks, down to simple slope changes on a ridge that is otherwise unremarkable. The elevation of a triple divide can be thousands of meters to barely above sea level. Triple dividers are a common hydrographic feature of any terrain that has rivers, streams, and/or lakes.

The triple basin between the three water basins  (Great Valley) is also known as the “triple point”.

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