Geography notes: Rivers
The drainage basin hydrological cycle
The drainage basin is an area of land drained by a river and its tributaries. The hydrological cycle is
the process by which water is moved within the drainage basin. The drainage basin hydrological
cycle is an open system as water is gained and lost. The system is made up of;
Inputs in the form of precipitation e.g. rain, hail, snow or sleet.
Transfers flows through the system
Stores storages above or below ground
Outputs where the water is lost from the system either by the river carrying it to the sea or
The water cycle
Understanding how the water cycle operates is key to understanding how rivers work. The water cycle is also known as the hydrological cycle. It is called a cycle because water continuously moves around the system. Rivers are part of this cycle. The illustration below shows how water changes state through the cycle. It can be a liquid, a vapour or a solid.