For faster navigation, this Iframe is preloading the Wikiwand page for Waterway.

Waterway

This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages) This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Waterway" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (August 2023) (Learn how and when to remove this message) The topic of this article may not meet Wikipedia's general notability guideline. Please help to demonstrate the notability of the topic by citing reliable secondary sources that are independent of the topic and provide significant coverage of it beyond a mere trivial mention. If notability cannot be shown, the article is likely to be merged, redirected, or deleted.Find sources: "Waterway" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (October 2022) (Learn how and when to remove this message) (Learn how and when to remove this message)
A floating market on one of Thailand's waterways
Car ferry across Lake Maggiore, Italy

A waterway is any navigable body of water. Broad distinctions are useful to avoid ambiguity, and disambiguation will be of varying importance depending on the nuance of the equivalent word in other ways. A first distinction is necessary between maritime shipping routes and waterways used by inland water craft. Maritime shipping routes cross oceans and seas, and some lakes, where navigability is assumed, and no engineering is required, except to provide the draft for deep-sea shipping to approach seaports (channels), or to provide a short cut across an isthmus; this is the function of ship canals. Dredged channels in the sea are not usually described as waterways. There is an exception to this initial distinction, essentially for legal purposes, see under international waters.

Where seaports are located inland, they are approached through a waterway that could be termed "inland" but in practice is generally referred to as a "maritime waterway" (examples Seine Maritime, Loire Maritime, Seeschiffahrtsstraße Elbe). The term "inland waterway" refers to navigable rivers and canals designed to be used by inland waterway craft only, implicitly of much smaller dimensions than seagoing ships.

In order for a waterway to be navigable, it must meet several criteria:

  • it must be deep enough to accommodate vessels loading to the design draft;
  • it must be wide enough to allow passage of the vessels with the design width or beam;
  • it must be free of obstacles to navigation such as waterfalls and rapids, or offer a way around them (such as canal locks or boat lifts);
  • its current must be mild enough to allow vessels to make headway upstream without undue difficulty;
  • the wave height (on lakes) must not exceed the value for which the class of vessel is designed.

Vessels using waterways vary from small animal-drawn barges to immense ocean tankers and ocean liners, such as cruise ships.

In order to increase the importance of inland waterway transport, the European Commission presented a 35-point action plan in June 2021. The main goals are to increase the amount of goods moved through Europe's rivers and canals and to speed up the switch to zero-emission barges by 2050. This is in accordance with the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy and the European Green Deal, which set the target of boosting inland canal and short-sea shipping by 25% by 2030 and by 50% by 2050.[1]

History

Waterways have been an important part of human activity since prehistoric times and navigability has allowed watercraft and canals to pass through every body of water. The Grand Canal (China), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the oldest known waterway system in the world, is considered to be one of the world's largest and most extensive project of engineering.[citation needed]

Example of classification of inland waterways

Waterway Classes in Europe
Classification of European inland waterways, adapted from UNECE Map of European Inland Waterways, 4th ed., 2010

The European Conference of Ministers of Transport established in 1953 a classification of waterways that was later expanded to take into account the development of push-towing. Europe is a continent with a great variety of waterway characteristics, which makes this classification valuable to appreciate the different classes in waterway. There is also a remarkable variety of waterway characteristics in many countries of Asia, but there has not been any equivalent international drive for uniformity. This classification is provided by the UN Economic Commission for Europe, Inland Transport Committee, Working Party on Inland Water Transport. A low resolution version of that map is shown here.

Major waterways

UNECE European Waterways Map
The European waterway network, differentiating waterways by Class (I to VII)

See also

References

  1. ^ "Reviving Lithuania's inland waterways to cut emissions". European Investment Bank. Retrieved 2023-07-19.
{{bottomLinkPreText}} {{bottomLinkText}}
Waterway
Listen to this article

This browser is not supported by Wikiwand :(
Wikiwand requires a browser with modern capabilities in order to provide you with the best reading experience.
Please download and use one of the following browsers:

This article was just edited, click to reload
This article has been deleted on Wikipedia (Why?)

Back to homepage

Please click Add in the dialog above
Please click Allow in the top-left corner,
then click Install Now in the dialog
Please click Open in the download dialog,
then click Install
Please click the "Downloads" icon in the Safari toolbar, open the first download in the list,
then click Install
{{::$root.activation.text}}

Install Wikiwand

Install on Chrome Install on Firefox
Don't forget to rate us

Tell your friends about Wikiwand!

Gmail Facebook Twitter Link

Enjoying Wikiwand?

Tell your friends and spread the love:
Share on Gmail Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Buffer

Our magic isn't perfect

You can help our automatic cover photo selection by reporting an unsuitable photo.

This photo is visually disturbing This photo is not a good choice

Thank you for helping!


Your input will affect cover photo selection, along with input from other users.

X

Get ready for Wikiwand 2.0 🎉! the new version arrives on September 1st! Don't want to wait?