Kerala is rich with water resources like rivers, backwaters and waterfalls. The Lowlands or the coastal area of Kerala, made up of river deltas, backwaters and the Arabian coast, is essentially a land of coconuts and rice. The 'rivers of Kerala have very importance in Kerala with regard to agriculture and power generation etc. Kerala rivers are small and monsoon fed, turnout to be rivulets in summer. Some of the important rivers of the state are Periyar, Bharathapuzha, Meenachil, Chittaripuzha, Ramapurampuzha etc.
There are 44 rivers in Kerala of which 41 are flowing westward and 3 eastward. Kerala rivers flow fast because of the hilly nature of the Western Ghats. Our rivers are comparatively small with regard to its length and breadth and they are monsoon fed. The rivers of Kerala have no deltas. Even if the size of the river is small, its utilisation is high. The biodiversity of the river and on the river banks is rich. There are numerous species of fishes in Kerala rivers.
Kerala is the land of rivers and backwaters. Kerala rivers are like blood veins in a human body. These rivers fertilise the land. They turn the waste land into wealthy land. Because these rivers are monsoon fed and that they are exploited on a large scale, these rivers turn out to be rivulets in summer season.
Periyar River, the largest river in Kerala, originates in the Sivagiri hills in the Western Ghats. It flows into the Vembanattu Lake and later to the Arabian Sea. The famous religious places of Kalady and Malayattoor are on the banks of this river.
Bharathapuzha, the second largest river of Kerala, originates in the Anamalai of Tamilnadu, and it flows through Coimbatore, Palghat, Malappuram, Thrissur and reaches Arabian Sea in Ponnani. The important tributaries of Bharathapuzha are Gayathri River, Kannadi River, Kalpathi River and Thutha River. The irrigation projects of Bharathapuzha are Mangalam Project, Pothundi Project, Gayathri Project, Malampuzha Project, Valayar Project etc.
Pamba River is the holy river of Kerala. The holy Sabarimala is situated on the banks of Pamba River. Pamba River is a combination of several small rivers which is originating from Peeramedu. The tributaries of Pamba river are Kakkiyar, Azhuthayar, Kakkatar and Kallar. This is the third largest river in Kerala. The Pambayar dam and the Kakiyar dam are constructed on the banks of this river. Pampa is considered as a Saint River.
Chaliyar is one of the most important rivers of Kerala which originates in Neelagiri hills of Tamilnadu. The tributaries of this river are Cholapuzha, Cherupuzha, Chalipuzha, Punnapuzha, Pandiyar, Karimpuzha, Kanjirapuzha, Kurumbanpuzha, Vadapurampuzha, Irrinjipuzha and Iruthullipuzha.It is also known as the Beypore River.
Mahe River, Bhavanipuzha, Meenachilaru, Manjeshwarampuzha, Shiriyar, Chandragiri, Neeleshwaram etc. are also important rivers in Kerala.