The La Plata basin is the 2nd largest river basin in South America.
The Rio de la Plata crosses 5 countries: Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Bolivia. The river basin has 3 main tributaries, the Paraná, the Paraguay and the Uruguay Rivers. The Paraná tributary river basin supplies the Brazilian cities Sao Paolo and Brasilia.
Although the Paraná basin alone supports 19 large cities of more than 100,000 people, currently the per capita water supply per person is ample.
Freshwater biodiversity is rich. There are over 350 fish species - the 3rd highest among medium sized basins. Of these, 85 are found nowhere else in the world. This basin is also home to the rare La Plata River Dolphin, and the only species of lungfish found in the Neotropics, Lepidosiren paradoxa
La Plata's Pantanal wetlands
, located mostly in southwest Brazil but also extending to southeast Bolivia and northern Paraguay, are the largest freshwater wetland in the world, covering 140,000 Km2
, and home to a vast array of wildlife.
This biological diversity encompasses 650 species of birds - including parrots, hawks, eagles, kites, 260 species of fish, 90 species of reptiles, over 1,600 species of flowering plants, and over 80 species of mammals - including ocelots, jaguars, and tapirs.
Thousands of permanent and semi-permanent lakes and ponds supporting the most diverse floating aquatic plant community in the world cover the Pantanal’s lowest areas. During the wet season, this wetland acts as a gigantic natural control mechanism for the floodwaters of the Paraguay River.
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