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river, Myanmar: see AyeyarwadyAyeyarwady
or Irrawaddy
, chief river of Myanmar, c.1,000 mi (1,600 km) long, formed by the confluence of the Mali and Nmai rivers in N Myanmar. The combined stream flows south through gorges strewn with rapids past Myitkyina, Bhamo, Mandalay, Pakokku, and Pyay; it
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the largest river in Burma. (Its headwaters are in China.) Length, 2,150 km. Basin area, 430,000 sq km (according to other data, 415,000 sq km).

The Irrawaddy rises in the eastern spurs of the Himalayas and flows mainly from north to south. In its upper course the Irrawaddy and its tributaries flow in deep gorges through jungles and have channels full of rapids. Below the city of Myitkyina the Irrawaddy valley broadens, and the channel becomes 800 m wide. The river then cuts across the western part of the Shan Upland, forming three gorges where the channel is 50–100 m wide and where in places there are whirlpools that constitute a danger to navigation. In its middle and lower course the Irrawaddy crosses the extensive Irrawaddy Plain, where the river forms a broad, terraced valley. A flat, very swampy delta covered with jungles begins 300 km from the mouth of the river. The delta has an area of up to 30,000 sq km (according to other sources, 48,000 sq km); along the coast of the Andaman Sea the delta extends for 240 km and is separated from the sea by a belt of sand dunes. The delta is formed by numerous channels and arms; Rangoon and Bassein are the largest ones and are navigable. The water is muddy, and the river carries about 250 million tons of sediments annually, owing to which the delta is advancing out into the sea at an average rate of 40–50 m a year.

The Irrawaddy has a monsoon regimen. Because of the monsoon rains, the river begins to rise in April and continues to rise until August or September, after which the water begins to drop. The amplitude of fluctuations in water level is 8–11 m, and during high water the width of the river increases in places by four to five times; thus, in the middle course at the city of Mandalay the width of the river changes from 2 km to 10 km. In its lower course the Irrawaddy experiences high tides which reach a height of 4—4.5 m at the city of Rangoon. The average water discharge in the river’s lower course is 13,000–14,000 cu m per sec, but during particularly heavy rains it can reach 40,000 cu m per sec, and sometimes even more. Catastrophic floods are frequent. The river is navigable for a distance of 1,100 km upstream, and for a distance of 1,440 km in the summer (to the city of Bhamo); small boats can ascend to the city of Myitkyina (1,600 km from the mouth). In the middle and lower course the waters of the Irrawaddy and its tributaries are used for irrigation. In its upper course timber is rafted. The river’s tremendous power resources are hardly used at all. The cities of Mandalay, Prome, and Henzada are on the Irrawaddy; Rangoon—Burma’s capital—is in the delta on an arm of the Irrawaddy.

A. P. Muranov


the main river in Myanmar, rising in the north in two headstreams and flowing south through the whole length of Myanmar, to enter the Andaman Sea by nine main mouths. Length: 2100 km (1300 miles)
References in periodicals archive ?
Taken by the serenity of the Irrawaddy River, I decided I couldnt leave Bagan without watching the last sunset over the Irrawaddy.
Solo travellers could opt for the Grand Circle Cruise Line's new 15-day land tour and Irrawaddy River cruise, from Bagan to Mandalay.
Four labourers flung into the Irrawaddy river from a partly-built bridge in the region were among those believed to have died, according to a situation report from the Save the Children charity.
Irrawaddy dolphins are also found in coastal areas in south and southeast Asia, in the Irrawaddy river in Myanmar and in the Mahakam river in Indonesia.
I have fallen in love with so many countries almost instantly -- from the Masai Mara reserve in Kenya, to Bariloche in Argentina; from Denis Island in the Seychelles, to the banks of the Irrawaddy River in Myanmar.
Head down to the Irrawaddy river to the shores of Myanmar's trading capital and second largest city, Mandalay, and you can't help but recite rudyard Kipling's famous poem on the road to Mandalay.
But China's aggressive ways have resulted in President Thein Sein repulsing them and even shutting down China's Myitsone dam project on the Irrawaddy river.
Most of its freshwater fish genera and species are shared with the Salween and Irrawaddy river basins of central Myanmar.
VISIT Highlights include cruises along the Irrawaddy river and visits to picturesque pagodas, enchanting monasteries and forgotten hill stations.
In impoverished western Burma, rebel groups are challenging the junta's intentions to build hydropower dams on the Irrawaddy River.
6 billion dam project on the Irrawaddy River, funded by a Chinese state company.
Yet one cannot help wondering whether the cancellation of Chinese built and aided Myitsone hydroelectric project on Irrawaddy River headwaters by the Myanmarese junta in September 2011 is the reason behind Wen's calling off his visit to Burma.