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Daugava river


Daugava river

Origin Valdai Hills, Russia
Mouth Gulf of Riga, Baltic Sea
Basin countries Belarus, Latvia, Russia, Lithuania, Estonia
Length 1,020 km (630 mi)[1]
Source elevation 221 m (725 ft)
Mouth elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Avg. discharge 678 m3/s (23,900 cu ft/s)
Basin area 87,900 km2 (33,900 sq mi)[1]

The River Daugava (in Latvian) or Western Dvina (Russian: Западная Двина́ (Zapadnaya Dvina); Belarusian: Заходняя Дзвіна, [zaˈxodnʲaja dzʲvʲiˈna], traditionally Дзвiна, Dzvina; German: Düna), not to be confused with Northern Dvina, is a river rising in the Valdai Hills, Russia, flowing through Russia, Belarus, and Latvia, draining into the Gulf of Riga in Latvia, an arm of the Baltic Sea. The total length of the river is 1,020 km (630 mi):[1] 325 km (202 mi) in Russia, 338 km (210 mi) in Belarus,[1] and 352 km (219 mi) in Latvia.[2] In the 19th century, it was connected by a canal to the Berezina and Dnieper rivers (the canal is currently not functioning). The Daugava forms part of the international border between Latvia and Belarus.

According to C.Michael Hogan, the Daugava River began experiencing environmental deterioration in the era of Soviet collective agriculture (producing considerable adverse water pollution runoff) and a wave of hydroelectric power projects.

There are three hydroelectric dams on the Daugava River – Rīgas HES just upstream from Riga or 35 km (22 mi) from the mouth of the river, Ķegums HPP another 35 km (22 mi) further up or 70 km (43 mi) from the mouth, and Pļaviņas HPP another 37 km (23 mi) upstream or 107 km (66 mi) from the mouth. A fourth one, Daugavpils HES, has been planned but has faced strong opposition. Belarus currently plans to build several hydroelectric dams on the Belarusian part of Western Dvina.


The total catchment area of the river is 87,900 km2 (33,900 sq mi), 33,150 km2 (12,800 sq mi) of which are within Belarus.[1]


The Latvian name for the river, "Daugava" originated from the ancient Baltic words for "the great water" (daudz ūdens). The names for the Daugava in other languages; Dyna – Düna – Двина – Дзьвіна – Dźwina – Dvina have an unclear origin. This name is mentioned in the Viking sagas and the Chronicle of Nestor. According to the Max Vasmer's Etymological Dictionary, the toponym Dvina clearly cannot stem from a Uralic language, and it possibly comes from Indo-European word which used to mean river or stream.[3]

Cities, towns and settlements by the Daugava River


Andreapol, Zapadnaya Dvina and Velizh.


Ruba, Vitsebsk, Beshankovichy, Polatsk with Boris stones strewn in the vicinity, Navapolatsk, Dzisna, Verkhnedvinsk, and Druya.


Krāslava, Daugavpils, Līvāni, Jēkabpils, Pļaviņas, Aizkraukle, Jaunjelgava, Lielvārde, Kegums, Ogre, Ikšķile, Salaspils and Riga.

Crossings of the Daugava River


Kirov Bridge, Vitebsk.


Southern Bridge, Island Bridge, Railway Bridge, Stone Bridge and Shroud Bridge, Riga.

Dams of Rīgas HES, Ķegums HPP and Pļaviņas HPP

Vienības tilts, Daugavpils

Main tributaries


Further reading

  • C.Michael Hogan. 2012. . Encyclopedia of Earth. Eds. P.Saundry & C.J.Cleveland. National Council for Science and the Environment. Washington DC

Coordinates: 57°3′42″N 24°1′50″E / 57.06167°N 24.03056°E / 57.06167; 24.03056

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