There are different types of rivers. Dutch rivers always have water, but there are also rivers where the water level fluctuates so much that they become dry in certain seasons. The fluctuations that occur in the course of the year are called: the regime of a river. The regime of a river depends, among other things, on the size of a catchment area. Below we discuss the river types.

The descriptions are not so strict in reality!

Rain river

Part of the rain will always flow directly towards the sea. There are streams which together form a river. The river is fed by rainwater. Especially in the summer a lot of rain evaporates before it reaches the river, resulting in low water levels.

An example of a rain river is the Meuse. The Meuse regime is directly dependent on precipitation and evaporation.

A river that is mainly fed by rainwater, we call a rain river.

Glacier River

In the high mountains, such as the Alps, precipitation often falls in the form of snow. This snow is compressed by the levels of fresh snow. The compressed snow becomes ice; this is called a glacier. The ice mass slides down very slowly and melts at the bottom. The melt water forms streams that, when they converge, form a river. The river is fed by glacier water.

A glacier river generally has a fairly regular discharge. Even in summer, when a lot of water evaporates, a glacier river still has a reasonable amount of water.

The Rhine was originally a glacier river, although the lower reaches of the river are partly dependent on precipitation.

A river that is mainly fed by glacier water, we call a

glacier river.

Source River

In mountainous areas it happens that precipitation gets into the ground. The levels in the soil are of different composition and material. There may be levels deep in the ground that do not allow water to pass through. The water then flows through the slope to a point where it ‘breaks’ out of the ground. A place like that is called a source.

The source water, sometimes together with other sources, forms streams. These streams in turn form a river when there is sufficient outlet.

A river that is mainly fed with spring water is called a source river.                                                           

Figure 5: Origin of a source

Mixed river

Most rivers are mixed rivers. They are fed by glaciers as well as by rain and/or sources. A river that is fed by glaciers as well as by rain and/or springs is called a mixed river.