Algeria is located in northern Africa and has a coastline along the Mediterranean Sea. It covers an area of 919,595 square miles, making it the largest country in both Africa and in the Arab World. The country is made up of mountains, highlands, plains, and desert. It has a desert climate which means hot, dry days turn into chilly nights. Additionally, several rivers cross Algeria. This article takes a look at the longest of its rivers.
Longest Rivers in Algeria
The longest river in Algeria is the Chelif, which runs 435 miles in length. It begins near the city of Aflou which is located in the Saharan Atlas mountains, flows through the Tell Atlas, and ends in the Mediterranean Sea. One of the most important uses for its waters is for agricultural purposes.
The Djedi River is 298 miles in length, making it the second longest in Algeria. Similar to the Chelif, it begins in the Saharan Atlas mountains at around 4,600 feet in elevation. The Djedi empties into Lake Chott Melrhir, which is located at 130 feet below sea level, the lowest point in Algeria. Portions of the river run dry in some sections of the lower riverbed, and only the upper areas contain water year-round. The lower portion and the lake dry out in the summer. This river provides water for agricultural endeavors, particularly several date palm farms, and also feeds a number of drinking wells for nearby communities. In many areas, the soil near the river has high concentrations of salinity.
The Medjerda River runs through both Algeria and Tunisia for a total of 280 miles. It originates in the Tell Atlas mountains in Algeria before reaching Tunisia, where it empties into the Gulf of Tunis in the Mediterranean Sea. This river has been important to humans over hundreds of years and several civilizations have inhabited its river valley. It is currently an important water source for agricultural production.
The Ziz River flows 175 miles through Algeria and Morocco. It begins in the Middle Atlas mountains of Morocco before it runs through the Sahara Desert into Algeria. Because of the dryness of the region, the river can, at times, be found without water. Communities along the river use its water for personal and agricultural purposes.
Located entirely within Algeria is the 140-mile-long Seybouse River. It originates in the Tell Atlas mountains and passes through the provinces of Guelma and Annaba before emptying into the Mediterranean Sea. The river is used mainly for irrigation.
Two of the biggest threats to these rivers and other waterways of Algeria are industrial pollution and droughts. Along the Seybouse River, for example, are a number of large-scale industrial activities. Of particular concern are hydrocarbon processing plants. This industry creates a significant amount of pollution which leaches into groundwater and contaminates bodies of water. The polluted water is then unsafe for human use and dangerous to wildlife survival. To address this problem and reduce health risks and environmental degradation, the government has established an industrial pollution control project.