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Paraná Delta and Rio de la Plata Estuary, Argentina

34.6S 58.3W

January 29th, 2013 Category: Rivers, Wetlands

Argentina – January 28th, 2013

The Paraná River runs through Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, where it flows into another river called Río de la Plata. Through the Parana Delta and the Rio de la Plata estuary, the second major hydrographic basin of South America (La Plata Basin) drains to the Atlantic Ocean.

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.

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 whose front is expanding towards the Rio de la Plata and it is expected to reach the coast of the city of Buenos Aires (visible here as a grey area on the shores of the estuary) 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 (click here for more information).

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