Rivers in Iceland

  • Two rivers side by side in Jökulsárgljúfur - glacial river Jökulsá á Fjöllum and the smaller spring-fed Brandslækur creek
Apr 21 2017

Iceland has hundreds of rivers and probably thousands of creeks brooks and streams.  It is a country of water and has more water recourses than most other countries, both cold and hot water. In a report from the University of Iceland a few years ago regarding water as a natural resource, it is concluded that Iceland could hypothetically fulfill all the water demand in a country with a population of 350 million people.  That is like providing the US with all its water demand.  And that is without doing anything like drilling or accessing the underground water.  Only by using the water that leaks on the surface to the ocean every day. There are also many underground rivers that we never see as they float underground to the sea.  By using the water floating beneath the surface, Iceland could hypothetically provide more than 900 million people with water. These were staggering numbers on a planet where water is becoming a scarce resource in many countries.

Some of our most powerful rivers converted to electricity

Compared to the huge rivers in Europe, North America, South America and Asia these ar relatively small rivers. Most of the larger and powerful Icelandic rivers originate in the Highland. That is one reason why Iceland has so many projects like dams and power plants in this remote area of the country.  The rivers are one of the reasons Icelanders have good access to electricity and are almost self-sustainable when in comes to power.  Throughout the last century, Icelanders built many dams and hydroelectric power plants to provide electricity. Many of the projects have caused major political disputes as many feel that the projects are a massive interference into nature.

The rivers that feed the waterfalls

The rivers are also the home of waterfalls.  Consequently, there are many waterfalls in Iceland.  And waterfalls are among the most valued natural wonders and attractions for visitors.  There are at least 30 to 40 stunning waterfalls in Iceland;  waterfalls that are worth visiting and seeing. Some are in glacial rivers, and others are in small spring-fed streams.  They all have their unique character that is often provided by the river they are a part of.  So the rivers in Iceland play a large role in the life of this nation. 

Read this important article written by a local expert before you choose a car.