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===Surface water===
 
===Surface water===
  
Lake Malawi is the largest water body in Malawi, and is the dominant control on the surface water drainage network in the country. The only river flowing out of Lake Malawi is the Shire River, which flows south into Mozambique, where it flows into the Zambezi River.
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Lake Malawi is the largest water body in Malawi, and is the dominant control on the surface water drainage network in the country. The main rivers flowing into the lake are the Linthipe, Bua, Dwangwa and Rukuru. These flow from wide 'dambos' that drain the plateau areas, which have steep valley sides that become less steep as they reach the rift valley.  
  
The main rivers flowing into Lake Malawi are the Songwe, South Rukuru, North Rukuru, Dwangua, Linthipe and Bua. The Songwe river marks Malawi's northern boundary with Tanzania, and flows into Lake Malawi at its northern end. The South Rukuru river is the main river in the Northern region of Malawi, flowing though the Nyika Plateau to the lake. The Bua and Dwangua rivers flow through central Malawi into the lake.  
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Lake Malawi is drained entirely by the Shire River, which is a tributary of the Zambezi River. The upper Shire Valley has a wide alluvial plain, changing to a narrower valley with gorges and rapids in the lower part.  
  
These major rivers typically drain wide 'dambos' in the plateau areas, which have steep valley sides that become less steep as they reach the rift valley. The upper Shire Valley has a wide alluvial plain, changing to a narrower valley with gorges and rapids in the lower part.
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Lake Chilwa forms an internal drainage basin, mainly draining the northern uplands. Rivers flowing into the Chilwa basin tend to be ephemeral in their lower courses, losing water to permeable valley alluvial deposits.  
 
 
The next largest lake in Malawi is Lake Chilwa, which forms an internal drainage basin and mainly drains the northern uplands. Rivers flowing into the Chilwa basin tend to be ephemeral in their lower courses, losing water to permeable valley alluvial deposits.  
 
  
 
For water management purposes, Malawi is divided into 17 water resource areas (WRAs) based on river basins. Some WRAs consist of one river basin and others are composed of several small river basins. WRAs are divided into water resource units (WRUs). In 2014, 139 stations hydrological monitoring stations were reported as operational, including 136 Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water stations and 3 Water Board stations. Another 164 stations were reported as non-operational in 2014 (Republic of Malawi, 2014).
 
For water management purposes, Malawi is divided into 17 water resource areas (WRAs) based on river basins. Some WRAs consist of one river basin and others are composed of several small river basins. WRAs are divided into water resource units (WRUs). In 2014, 139 stations hydrological monitoring stations were reported as operational, including 136 Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water stations and 3 Water Board stations. Another 164 stations were reported as non-operational in 2014 (Republic of Malawi, 2014).

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