If you do an online search about the importance of rivers to human civilization, your search results will likely include the following five main reasons: fresh water, transportation, food, irrigation, and energy. These things are important, but they are only the beginning of what the river has to offer.
The importance of the river
Although 70 percent of the earth’s fresh water is trapped in the polar ice caps, rivers account for almost 70 percent of the fresh water used by humans for drinking, cooking, and bathing.
Rivers are still used as a natural transportation route, making it easier for people to move goods and people between different regions. A quick look at a map will reveal that almost all ancient cities, and many modern cities, were built around a river. Rivers have long been important for trade and commerce, allowing people to exchange goods and ideas for millenia.
Rivers provide a source of food, not only through fishing, but as a primary source of irrigation. This has allowed for the growth of large civilizations, particularly in areas where rainfall is limited.
Generation of hydroelectric power is one of the most ubiquitous uses of the river in the West. Dams provide an extremely reliable source of energy for industrial and domestic use.
The value of the river
River Country Products is at the heart of all of these uses; our headquarters are located at the junction of several large rivers like the Columbia, Snake, Yakima, and Walla Walla. We are located in a desert, with over 310 days of sunshine each year and 7 inches of rainfall. However, because of our rivers, we are an agriculture and energy hub of the world, growing billions of pounds of French-fry potatoes and other bumper crops each year. We are also one of the last ports along the Columbia that can handle large barges all the way from Asia.
Here at River Country Products, we believe that the value of the river runs deeper than the obvious, and farther than a search engine can imagine. The river brings life to the desert, but it also brings life to the soul. There’s a magic in the river that exists nowhere else. Part of this magic is found in the reality that the river exists as much for recreation and enjoyment as it does for the sustaining of civilization.
It is believed that Mark Twain captured another element of the magical river when he said, “The river has great wisdom and whispers its secrets to the hearts of men.”
What wisdom have you found in the river? What secrets have you discovered? Let us know in the comments below.