• Einar Páll Svavarsson

Rivers in Iceland


One of many beautiful rivers in Iceland
One of many beautiful rivers in Iceland

Iceland has hundreds of rivers and probably thousands of creeks, brooks, and streams. It is a country of water and has more water recourses than most other countries, both cold and hot water. In a report from the University of Iceland a few years ago regarding water as a natural resource, it is concluded that Iceland could hypothetically fulfill all the water demand in a country with a population of 350 million people. That is like providing the US with all its water demand. And that is without doing anything like drilling or accessing the underground water, only by using the water that leaks on the surface of the ocean every day. There are also many underground rivers that we never see as they float underground to the sea. Iceland could hypothetically provide more than 900 million people with water by using the water floating beneath the surface. These were staggering numbers on a planet where water is becoming a scarce resource in many countries.


Some of our most powerful rivers converted to electricity


A typical glcial river
A typical glcial river

Compared to the huge rivers in Europe, North America, South America, and Asia these are relatively small rivers. Most of the larger and more powerful Icelandic rivers originate in the Highland. That is one reason why Iceland has so many projects like dams and power plants in this remote area of the country. The rivers are one of the reasons Icelanders have good access to electricity and are almost self-sustainable when it comes to power. Throughout the last century, Icelanders built many dams and hydroelectric power plants to provide electricity. Many of the projects have caused major political disputes as many feel that the projects are a massive interference in nature.


The rivers that feed the waterfalls

The river Fossá is a beutiful river in the valley Fossárdalur in the East Region
The river Fossá is a beutiful river in the valley Fossárdalur in the East Region

The rivers are also the home to waterfalls. Consequently, there are many waterfalls in Iceland. And waterfalls are among the most valued natural wonders and attractions for visitors. There are at least 30 to 40 stunning waterfalls in Iceland; waterfalls that are worth visiting and seeing. Some are in glacial rivers, and others are in small spring-fed streams. They all have their unique character that is often provided by the river they are a part of. So the rivers in Iceland play a large role in the life of this nation.


A river, Markarfljót, is a product of many other streams, rivers and surface water
A river, Markarfljót, is a product of many other streams, rivers and surface water

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