1902 Encyclopedia > Borneo > Borneo - Rivers and Lakes

(Part 2)

Borneo - Rivers and Lakes

The island, which is abundantly supplied with rivers and streams, may be hydrographically divided into five principal versants.

Of these the shortest lies along the north-western slope of the Krimbang and Kini-balu [Kinabalu] range, and discharges its waters into the Chinese Sea. The most important of its rivers are the Sarawak, the Batang-Lupar, the Seribas, the Rejang (which is navigable for 140 miles), the Baram (about half a mile wide at its mouth), the Limbang or Bruni River, the Tewaran, the Bintulu, and the Tainpasuk, the last two having their sources in Mount Kini-balu [Kinabalu] itself.

In the south-western versant the largest river is the Kapuas, which, rising towards the centre of the island, in about 114° E. long., falls, after a long and winding course, into the sea between Mempawa and Sukkadana. It has eight navigable mouths, and at Sintang, where it receives the Melawi, its principal tributary, it has a breadth of 1072 feet and a varying depth of 6 to 11 fathoms.

The Banjermassin or Barito, which is the master stream of the southern versant, rises in the Kuti-Lama Lake, and reaches the Sea of Java in 114° 30' E. long. Its upper channel is greatly interrupted by rocks and waterfalls, but the lower part of its course is wide and navigable, and traverses a rich alluvial district. Cross branches unite it with two rivers of considerable size towards the west, the Little Dayak or Murung and the Great Dayak or Kahayan, and still further west are the independent rivers Mendawi, Sampit, Pembuang or Surian, and Kota-Waringin.

Passing over the south-east corner of the island, which is watered by a large number of short mountain streams, we reach the one great river of the eastern versant, the Kuti (Coti) or Mahakkan, which, rising in Mount Lassan-Tina, flows east, with a rapid and sinuous course, and falls by numerous mouths into the Strait of Macassar.

Most of the rivers of the northern versant are comparatively small, as the island narrows into a kind of promontory. Besides the Sebuku, which rises in Mount Pentyieangan and falls into the sea at Temelingan, the Berou, the Gunong-Tebur, and the Bulungan are all worthy of mention.

Among the lakes of Borneo that of Kini-bale [Kinabalu], near the mountain of the same name, is regarded as the largest, but many others are of considerable size. The Danau Sriang, for example, on the Kapuas River, is, according to Dr. E. van Martens, larger than the Lake of Constance. In the valley of the Banjermassin are the Babi and the Pamingir (or Telaga) lakes, the latter of which supplies nearly all the inhabitants of the kingdom with fish; and in the district of Sintang there is an extensive sheet of water, on the Kapuas-Tawang, which was discovered in 1825, and is known by the various names of the Luar, Sumbah, Malayu, or van Capellan Lake.

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