Xi Jiang
Looking across the Xi River from Heshan to Jiujiang, Foshan City.
The Pearl River system including the Xi River
CountryChina and Vietnam
Physical characteristics
 • locationGui Jiang and Xun Jiang in Wuzhou
 • location
The Pearl River Delta on the South China Sea
Length2,197 km (1,365 mi)
Basin size409,480 km2 (158,100 sq mi)
 • average7,410 m3/s (262,000 cu ft/s)[1]
Basin features
 • leftHe Jiang, Gui Jiang, Hongshui Ho, Qian Jiang
 • rightYu Jiang, Xun Jiang
Xi River
JyutpingSai1 gong1
Hanyu PinyinXī Jiāng
PostalWest River
Literal meaningWestern River
The location of Xi River in China
Marble Hill (Cockscomb Rock) on the West River, around 1871
Xi River in Zhaoqing.

The Xi River (/ʃ/;[2] Chinese: 西江) or Si-Kiang[3] is the western tributary of the Pearl River in southern China. It is formed by the confluence of the Gui and Xun Rivers in Wuzhou, Guangxi. It originates from the eastern foot of the Maxiong Mountain in Qujing City, Yunnan Province. Then it flows east through Guangdong, and enters the Pearl River Delta just east of the Lingyang Gorge in Zhaoqing. The main branch of the Xi River flows southeast through the delta entering the South China Sea at Modao Men, just west of Macau. The major cities along the Xi include Wuzhou, Zhaoqing, and Jiangmen.

The other two main tributaries of Pearl River are the Dong River (literally, the East River) and Bei River (the Northern River).As for other functions, it plays a vital role in carbon storage and transport in Southern China.[4] The Xi River is facing some ecological challenges such as drought,[5] invasive species,[6] and pollution.[7]

Xi River system

The basin of the Xi River ranges from eastern Yunnan Province to southern Guangdong Province with a humid subtropical or tropical monsoon climate.[5] The Xi River is navigable for its entire length. It is a commercial waterway of southern China, and links the delta cities to the interior. Over two thousand years ago, the Lingqu Canal was dug, connecting the Xi River basin (the Li River, which is a tributary of the Gui River) with the Xiang River, which flows into the Yangtze, thus providing a continuous waterway from the Pearl River Delta to the Yangtze Valley. The Xi River is rich in water conservancy and water resources, providing significant contributions to agricultural irrigation, river transportation, and power generation in coastal areas.[5]

The Xi River is the largest of the Pearl's tributaries. Its volume of flow is second in China only to that of the Yangtze River, and it supplies water to many places in Guangxi, Guangdong and Macau. The greater Xi River is also one of China's longest. Existing in many segments it extends for 2,271.8 km (1,411.6 mi):

Xijiang river system (italics referring to rivers flowing outside of Guangxi)
Fuchuan (富川江) He (贺江) Xi (西江)
Li (漓江) Gui (桂江)
Beipan River (北盘江) Hongshui (红水河) Qian (黔江) Xun (浔江)
Nanpan River (南盘江)
Rong (融江) Liu (柳江)
Long (龙江)
You (右江) Yong (邕江) Yu (郁江)
Zuo (左江)

Major cities along the river

River Ecology

Rivers are a significant storage and transport system for both organic and inorganic carbon.[8] The Xi River is an important source of atmospheric carbon dioxide in Southern China, with carbon inputs coming mainly from the river's headwater Nanpan and Beipan rivers. In the Beipan River, carbon inputs come from the oxidation of organic carbon and the coal industry along the river. In the Nanpan River, carbon inputs come mainly from soil and organic detritus.[4]

Environmental Issues


The Xi River basin has historically experienced droughts, which are worsening due to climate change and rapid urbanization along with many parts of the river. This increase in population is straining water resources. The climate of the watershed is subtropical to tropical monsoon, with 80% of precipitation falling between April and September.[5] This extreme variation in yearly precipitation patterns exacerbates drought issues. Climate change is predicted to cause a significant decrease in average, highest, and lowest river flows, with average flow droppings anywhere from 4 to 49%.[5] Increasing frequency and severity lead the meteorological and hydrological droughts.

Invasive species

Invasive or non-native species are an issue in rivers in southern China, including the Xi River.[6] Southern China rears the majority of non-native species in aquaculture.[6] These species are mainly introduced from aquaculture, and may predate or outcompete native species.[6] Most introduced species are omnivores, including the Nile tilapia, the most common non-native species in southern China rivers.[6]


Many commercial fish species in the Xi River and the encompassing Pearl River watershed have been contaminated with significant amounts of Bisphenol A, common in plastics manufacturing.[9] Bisphenol A is a chemical that can be harmful to the endocrine system of fish and humans.[9]


In order to protect the Xi River, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region government issued a notice prohibiting new construction projects and migration of people within the land occupied and inundated areas of the Xi River mainstream control project in Guangxi.[10] Besides, the protection measures include: promulgated a fishing ban,[11] wetland park protection, develop green recycling and low-carbon economic, the innovation of ecological and environmental protection cooperation mechanism and Xi River Basin Nature Reserve construction management.[12]


  1. ^ NASA.gov
  2. ^ "Xi". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.
  3. ^ Other transliterations of the river's name include Hsi River and Hsi Chiang.
  4. ^ a b Zou, Junyu (2017). "Geochemical characteristics and organic carbon sources within the upper reaches of the Xi River, southwest China during high flow". Journal of Earth System Science. 126 (1): 126(1), 1–10. Bibcode:2017JESS..126....6Z. doi:10.1007/s12040-016-0792-9. S2CID 132266505.
  5. ^ a b c d e Wang, Keyi; Niu, Jun; Li, Tiejian; Zhou, Yang (2020). "Facing Water Stress in a Changing Climate: A Case Study of Drought Risk Analysis Under Future Climate Projections in the Xi River Basin, China". Frontiers in Earth Science. 8: 86. Bibcode:2020FrEaS...8...86W. doi:10.3389/feart.2020.00086. ISSN 2296-6463.
  6. ^ a b c d e Gu, Dangen; Yu, Fandong; Hu, Yinchang; Wang, Jianwei; Xu, Meng; Mu, Xidong; Yang, Yexin; Wei, Hui; Shen, Zhixin (2020). "Non-native fishes in eight rivers of South China: species composition, distribution patterns, and potential influencing factors". www.authorea.com. doi:10.22541/au.158325439.94846492. Retrieved 2021-04-18.
  7. ^ Lian, Meihua; Wang, Jun; Sun, Lina; Xu, Zhe; Tang, Jiaxi; Yan, Jun; Zeng, Xiangfeng (2019). "Profiles and potential health risks of heavy metals in soil and crops from the watershed of Xi River in Northeast China". Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety. 169: 442–448. doi:10.1016/j.ecoenv.2018.11.046. ISSN 0147-6513. PMID 30471581.
  8. ^ Baker, Andy; Cumberland, Sue; Hudson, Naomi (2008). "Dissolved and total organic and inorganic carbon in some British rivers". Area. 40 (1): 117–127. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4762.2007.00780.x. ISSN 1475-4762.
  9. ^ a b Wei, Xi; Huang, Yeqing; Wong, Ming H.; Giesy, John P.; Wong, Chris K. C. (2011). "Assessment of risk to humans of bisphenol A in marine and freshwater fish from Pearl River Delta, China". Chemosphere. 85 (1): 122–128. Bibcode:2011Chmsp..85..122W. doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2011.05.038. ISSN 1879-1298. PMID 21700311.
  10. ^ "西江干流治理工程:禁止新增建设项目及迁入人口 - 广西壮族自治区人民政府门户网站 - www.gxzf.gov.cn". www.gxzf.gov.cn. Retrieved 2021-04-18.
  11. ^ "西江禁渔七年水清鱼肥 - 广西壮族自治区人民政府门户网站 - www.gxzf.gov.cn". www.gxzf.gov.cn. Retrieved 2021-04-18.
  12. ^ "聚焦西江流域生态环保 2016年广西环保世纪行启动 - 广西壮族自治区人民政府门户网站 - www.gxzf.gov.cn". www.gxzf.gov.cn. Retrieved 2021-04-18.

22°03′37″N 113°28′45″E / 22.0602°N 113.4792°E / 22.0602; 113.4792