Congo River : Hydrology and Transportation

 For example, heavy rainfall in the northern
areas that contribute to the Ubangi River may cause flooding in the
region itself, but would generally not lead to a drought in a southern
portion of the Congo basin. Because of the vastness of the area, by the
time the river's waters join together, very little effect will be seen.
This allows the river's flow to balance out and not change too
drastically during the year.

Patterns have been established
in the past and the river can be expected to have higher levels in
December and May due to the rainy season. The levels are expected to be
low in March and April, and even lower in July in response to the dry
season. If some of the weather patterns change drastically, resulting
in floodwaters arriving at the same or different times, then the
anticipated water levels will be affected accordingly. The flow has
been recorded as high as 2,600,000 cubic feet per second during the
flood of 1962. Its lowest level was recorded in 1905 at 765,000 cubic
feet per second.


The Congo River remains
Africa's most vital navigational system. There are over 8,700 miles of
waterway that are used in DRC (Zaire) alone. Barges carrying loads of
800 to 1,100 tons are able to navigate at least 650 miles of the Congo
throughout the year. These barges carry fuel, wood, minerals and
agricultural produce and are a communication and transportation
resource for those areas that are not served by roads.

There are three main transportation routes, which come together
downstream at Kinshasa on the Malebo Pool. These three routes have
their origins in three places: Kisangani, Ilebo (on the Kasai River),
and Bangui (on the Ubangi River). These routes have continued to aid
economic development in those areas that are further inland and do not
have access to the coast for shipping, etc.

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Although certain sections of the river can be used for transportation,
it is unnavigable in its lower reaches, where there are numerous
waterfalls. To facilitate transportation, railway systems have been
built to complete the routes inland to the coastal regions along the
Atlantic Ocean.

The river system in some areas
is a drawback. There are only a few bridges that cross the Congo and
its tributaries at present. This problem can only be solved in the
future with cooperation and funds provided by the countries through
which the river flows.

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