Picture watershed


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A drainage basin is a region of land where water from rain or snow melt drains downhill into a body of water, such as a river, lake, dam, estuary, wetland, sea or ocean. The drainage basin includes both the streams and rivers that convey the water as well as the land surfaces from which water drains into those channels. The drainage basin acts like a funnel – collecting all the water within the area covered by the basin and channeling it into a waterway. Each drainage basin is separated topographically from adjacent basins by a ridge, hill or mountain, which is known as a water divide or a watershed. Especially in North American usage however, watershed refers to the drainage basin itself. Other terms that can be used to describe the same concept are catchment, catchment area, catchment basin, drainage area, river basin and water basin.