Ecuador is one of the smallest countries of South America. It lies on the west coast of the continent between Colombia and Peru. The equator crosses Ecuador and gives the country its name. ‘Ecuador’ is the Spanish word for ‘equator.’ The vast areas of land- – mountain slopes, mountain valleys between mountain ranges, high plateaus and coastal plains- – are all very rich.
Almost everywhere in Ecuador, there is plenty of water. The main source is the rainfall. Winds laden with moisture circulate freely because of the tropical rain forests. This produces clouds and long lasting rains from October to March. The mountain rains are very favorable for planting crops. So although Ecuador has important petroleum deposits, and oil ranks as the country’s chief export, farming employs more of the Ecuadorian people than does any economic activity. “Many Ecuadorians are farmers”, says our friend Juan Leon de Alfaro, a 42-year-old port maintenance chief from Guayaquil. “And many of the farmers still use old-fashioned farming equipment and methods- – simply depending on the mountain rains as their ancestors have done before them,” he says.
Other sources of water are fog, underground water and water flowing through the rivers. Ecuador has eleven major rivers flowing to the Pacific Ocean- – Mira, Santiago, Esmeraldas, Guayos, Tama, Chone, Portoviejo, Naranjal, Jubones, Puyango-Tumbez, Catamayo-chira; and three major rivers flowing to the Atlantic Ocean- – Napo-Aguarico, Pastaza and Santiago Morana.
Ecuador has eleven major rivers flowing to the Pacific Ocean…