Rivers provided early humans with water to drink and fish to eat.
When people learned to build and use boats, rivers supplied a cheap and easy way to travel. Floodplains provided fertile soil for crops, and the system called irrigation allowed people to use rivers to water their fields.
Today, many places use rivers to produce electric power. Hydroelectric dams, such as the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River in the USA, use the fast flow of rivers to generate great amounts of electricity.
Lots of people like to use rivers for recreational activities as well, such as: fishing, bird watching, walking, canoeing, sailing and windsurfing.