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Cauca(kou`kä), river, c.800 mi (1,290 km) long, rising in the Cordillera Central, near Popayán, W Colombia. It flows north in a rift valley between the Cordillera Central and Cordillera Occidental to the Magdalena River. It is navigable in its lower course and drains a fertile valley; coffee is the chief crop. The valley has many minerals including gold. There is a river-control and utilization scheme on the upper Cauca.
a department in southwestern Colombia. To the westis the Pacific Ocean, and in the east lie the Cordillera Occidentaland the Cordillera Central. Area, 30, 500 sq km. Population, 711,000 (1971). The administrative center is Popayan. Theeconomy is based on livestock raising and tropical farming(coffee, cacao, sugarcane, rice, cotton). Ceramics, leather goods, and textiles are produced, and there is also lumbering and sulfurextraction.
a river in Colombia, a left tributary of the MagdalenaRiver. It is 1, 350 km long (according to other data, 1, 050 kmlong) and drains an area of about 80, 000 sq km. The Cauca risesin the southern part of the Cordillera Central and then quicklydescends into a broad (up to 46 km) and deep rift valley betweenthe Cordillera Central and the Cordillera Occidental. Rapidsalternate with quietly flowing stretches. On leaving the moun-tains, the Cauca spreads out over the Caribbean lowlands, form-ing branches and lakes. Flooding occurs in the spring andautumn, and the average annual discharge is about 2, 000 cu mper sec. The river is navigable for about 600 km, from Cali toCartago and from Antioquia to the mouth.