Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Rivers

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Inclusion criteria for watershed templates

Myself and User:Alansohn had a discussion about the inclusion criteria for US watershed templates, which sometimes go beyond listing just rivers, lakes, and tributaries, and also include populated places and landmarks, some of which are located nowhere near water:

If "watershed" is a geographic term referring to a drainage basin, would watershed templates be improved if they only included links to rivers, streams, and so forth? Thanks. Magnolia677 (talk) 17:50, 8 August 2023 (UTC)[reply]

With all due respect, this is a solution looking for a problem. I don't think anyone has objected to this, and it's not hurting to include too much rather than not enough. We've got more important issues than looking to pick apart river templates! As well, many of these rivers/watersheds are among the most important entities for regional context. Hudson River communities are as united as Mississippi River communities as are ones along the White River in Vermont. Communities and landmarks are definitely important for these topics. ɱ (talk) 18:07, 8 August 2023 (UTC)[reply]
There was a content dispute at Template:Raritan River, and a discussion where both editors sought input from the community. This should have been clear as a mud-free river. Magnolia677 (talk) 18:22, 8 August 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Tributaries definitely belong, as do lakes. Towns are places in the watershed, where the water runs through, and I'm OK with that. However, landmarks are locations that by sheer coincidence happen to be located in the watershed. I've already removed them from Template:Raritan River and they should be removed from all such templates, as the connection to the river or watershed is far too tenuous. Alansohn (talk) 19:27, 8 August 2023 (UTC)[reply]
I was not involved in the Raritan River discussion because I did not create that template; although I did create the others listed (and several more at the bottom of my user page.) Populated places within a watershed are significant to that watershed as likely sources of pollution, and those watersheds are significant to populated places' water supply and flooding risks. Extreme precipitation events of short duration produce more serious flooding along tributaries than the main river system, and drought causes earlier water shortages along the tributaries than along the main river fed by additional tributaries. I suggest these factors indicate the importance of informing readers of the drainage basin when news reports identify rivers, cities, or other landmarks while neglecting to identify tributaries or downstream effects. Thewellman (talk) 19:38, 8 August 2023 (UTC)[reply]
@Thewellman: What is your inclusion criteria for populated places? At Template:Russian River, you added Talmage, California, yet no part of Talmage touches the Russian River, and no waterways flow through Talmage into the Russian River. Magnolia677 (talk) 22:39, 8 August 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Talmadge is located in the Ukiah Valley. The Ukiah Valley is a relatively flat alluvial plain surrounded by mountains of the California Coast Ranges. As such, the community depends on groundwater in the alluvial aquifer recharged by the Russian River, and the community would be subject to flooding in the event of failure of the dam impounding Lake Mendocino or landslides blocking the downstream canyon near Hopland, California. Thewellman (talk) 23:28, 8 August 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Thewellman, I always thought that towns listed in the watershed were those populated places where drops of rainwater that fall ultimately make it through gravity to the title river. Now it includes places where water underneath the place ultimately touches water that passed through the river, went into the ground and entered an underground aquifer? The inclusion criteria are getting even hazier than I had ever thought. Alansohn (talk) 12:03, 9 August 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Do I detect an inference that a watershed ends where we can no longer observe water on the surface of the ground? Would it help if we renamed the templates drainage basins? I have lived in places like New Jersey where rivers are expected to be visibly wet, but I have also lived in places where river channels remain dry for years and may carry surface flow only for hours after rare precipitation events. Climate change may make dry channels more common. Subsurface flow beneath these dry channels is critically important to people living in these watersheds. Failure to recognize the significance of subsurface flow has been a water pollution problem where toxic materials were spilled or dumped on the ground assuming they would stay there and a water rights problem where historic entitlement to surface flow has been stolen by pumping what has been perceived as unrelated groundwater. I hope we can agree on a watershed delineation template which works for both humid and arid parts of our planet. Thewellman (talk) 18:25, 9 August 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Drainage basins can be complicated. I live where small streams flow to a large wetland, from which some water soaks into the ground, some drains into a sinkhole, and some flows above ground to eventually enter a river system. Orange Creek Basin Donald Albury 19:40, 9 August 2023 (UTC)[reply]
@Alansohn: Landmarks listed at the Hudson River template are not watershed-area landmarks, they are physical items, navigational landmarks, visible on the Hudson. A boat traveling up or down the river is intended to spot all of these items, and they are primarily elements related to the river - mountains, bridges, natural areas, and canals. There are some exceptions that should be removed, but these physical landmarks are useful to the template. ɱ (talk) 02:07, 9 August 2023 (UTC)[reply]
These templates are about the watershed. So any tributary in the watershed is included. Any lake, pond or accumulation of water in the watershed with an article is included. Any town, township, city, village, hamlet, borough or populated place that the watershed passes through is listed. But landmarks only includes those that are visible from the river? What do landmarks visible from the river have to do with a template about a watershed? How would anyone reading or editing the template know that based on the description at the top of the template? Alansohn (talk) 11:52, 9 August 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Well, Hudson River reflects lots of geographic entities which should be summarized in a template at the main and related articles. There's only one Template:Hudson River, perhaps it should say "Hudson River and watershed", or be split into two templates. ɱ (talk) 17:35, 9 August 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Let me try to summarize the discussion so far in my odyssey to determine what should be included in a watershed template (in addition to rivers, streams, and lakes): pollution, water supply, flooding, subsurface flow, water rights, notable navigational landmarks visible from the water, and populated places that could in some way be impacted by their placement within a watershed. Ok, I get it. What about water towers? Every community has at least one water tower, and they all literally pump water right out of the watershed and store it in a big tank. Magnolia677 (talk) 23:04, 9 August 2023 (UTC)[reply]

I'm not aware of many water tanks notable enough to have a separate Wikipedia article, since most of them are associated with the communities they serve. Did you have some in mind? Thewellman (talk) 23:24, 9 August 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Chinese river article needs a course correction

but unsure exactly how. See (and direct replies) to Wikipedia talk:WikiProject China#Wei? Weeeiii? in a few minutes once I write out the section. — LlywelynII 02:29, 8 October 2023 (UTC)[reply]

There is a requested move discussion at Talk:Howard Creek (disambiguation)#Requested move 5 January 2024 that may be of interest to members of this WikiProject. Vanderwaalforces (talk) 17:04, 5 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]


Why is it that all streams are categorized as rivers when rivers are only a type of stream? Like the stream article claims, long, large streams are usually called rivers while smaller, less voluminous and more intermittent streams are known as streamlets, brooks or creeks. It seems to me that there should be categories for each type of stream rather than categorizing every stream as a river which seems erroneous to me. Volcanoguy 03:28, 9 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]

While I think categorizing by type of stream would add too much ambiguity (since what is called a "river" in one place could be considered a "creek" in another, and there are even rivers that flow into creeks, like the Wallkill River which flows into the Rondout Creek), it might make sense to change "Category: Rivers of" to "Category: Streams of". As you point out, "stream" is the correct umbrella term that covers rivers, creeks, brooks, arroyos, etc. Thoughts? Shannon [ Talk ] 18:35, 29 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Condsider that Econfina River in Florida has a watershed of 239 square miles, while Econfina Creek, also in Florida, has a watershed of 275 square miles. I remember one website that remarked that Econfina River was a creek, while Econfina Creek was a river. "Rivers", "streams", "creeks", "runs", "branches", etc. often overlap in watershed area, flow volume, and other measures, and the choice of name is often arbitrary, influenced by local custom. Donald Albury 01:22, 31 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]

River AfD

Your input at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Wolastoq is welcome. The river flows between Canada and the United States. Magnolia677 (talk) 22:42, 17 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Watersheds of the world

The Wayback links to the reference text Watersheds of the world : ecological value and vulnerability in this WikiProject guide are not usable. A scanned copy of the book can be borrowed through the IA: Watersheds of the world : ecological value and vulnerability. 1998. I recommend that we update the links to reference the scanned copy of the book. - DutchTreat (talk) 12:27, 29 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Link updated. DutchTreat (talk) 13:33, 1 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Merger discussion for Rubicon

An article which may be of interest to members of this project—Rubicon—has been proposed for merging with Crossing the Rubicon. If you are interested, please participate in the merger discussion. Thank you. IgnatiusofLondon (talk) 22:21, 30 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]

River regime


I am currently editing an article that might interest you, but more importantly I kind of have a dilemma what approach I should take.

So the article in question is River regime. It is not a part of your project as it firstly included only the definition in geology and the other, completely different topic that I set out to expand is about the annual fluctuations of rivers' discharge, sort of like climate is for weather. So these are two completely different topics, so i guess they should be split into two articles with this second being called discharge regime, which is also used. So I have made a template {{hydrograph}} and set out to expand the article (see my sandbox page). However, I found little sources that focused on the topic in detail globally and none of those classifications seemed to be detailed and particularly good. The part around the Alps (Slovenia and Austria, perhaps also France, but sadly, I don't speak French) seems a lot more developed than other parts and the distinction is also very detailed. Nival/nivo-glacial and glacial regimes are differentiated down to a single month while I failed to find a more detailed description for pluvial regimes than the distinction into three splits (temperate pluvial, mediterranean, and tropical pluvial – misleading as it also appears in China and together with a nival peak even in Russia).

So I set out to erase this inconsistency and I made some special notation that would be objective, detailed and quick to convey the information. I have seen Wiktionary using its own transcription for some Chinese varieties, so I Figured that would not be such a problem. However, then these common names such as glacial and nival also needed special distinctions as in Asia, it happens that the nival and pluvial peak coincide in August or July, which does not occur in Europe; rivers so far towards the poles that they get most of the water from glaciers also needed to fit somewhere, which lead to the current situation where I find myself making more and more subjective decisions, far more than what is probably acceptable for Wikipedia. And I don't want to continue onwards knowing that the edit would probably get reversed anyhow. If you find any other classification that could be used, please let me know.

I think that developing a such system for global classification would be really beneficial and this notation could then also be added to the infoboxes for rivers, because if only what has been published elsewhere is used, the whole topic would be really eurocentric with many different rivers with pluvial peaks (i.e. all those rivers rising in tropical, temperate and most of dry climates) fitting into one of the only three categories while having 10 different simple regimes for rivers in the Alpine region. I have found a source which allows for a quick addition of the regimes and from it, a special article for each of these major groups could also be made as there are trends that can be identified (something similar as in the second part of the sandbox page).

Let me know what you think about this or if I should ask about the issue elsewhere. Garygo golob (talk) 15:45, 8 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]

I think this is a useful article, but I suggest caution to avoid over-simplification of a complex subject. I agree with your assessment of the subjectivity of selecting an appropriate range of regimes for use in the infoboxes of river articles. The article presently relies heavily on a single source; and, as you suggest, additional sources may offer alternative variant definitions. The related time of concentration article describes an engineering concept used for translating anticipated snowmelt or precipitation intensity into estimated peak flows for smaller watersheds, although terrain and climatic variation over distances introduce complexities making it impractical for larger rivers where reliance is often placed on historical flow measurements to predict return periods of peak flow events. Some arid climates have channel forming discharge events (peak flows) at much lesser frequency than suggested, and human influences including climate change, pumping groundwater from a river's underflow, or operation of dams for hydropower, flood control, or water storage to sustain dry season flow are becoming increasingly significant. Thewellman (talk) 20:05, 8 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The problem with developing your own scheme for classifying rivers is that it is original research. We can only use content in Wikipedia that is based on what has been published in reliable sources. I run into this problem every once in a while (including this week), where being able to organize content in an article on some scheme or classification would be useful, but I can't find decent sources that support such a scheme or classification. All you can do is summarize what reliable sources say, you cannot go beyond that. Donald Albury 20:07, 8 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]

There is a requested move discussion at Talk:New River (North Carolina)#Requested move 24 February 2024 that may be of interest to members of this WikiProject. – robertsky (talk) 14:13, 6 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

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