This paper provides a general overview about the use of fuzzy inference systems in the important field of river flow forecasting. It discusses the overall operation of the main two types of fuzzy inference systems, namely Mamdani and Takagi–Sugeno–Kang fuzzy inference systems, and the critical issues related to their application. A literature review of existing studies dealing with the use of fuzzy inference systems in river flow forecasting models is presented, followed by some recommendations for future research areas. This review shows that fuzzy inference systems can be used as effective tools for river flow forecasting, even though their application is rather limited in comparison to the popularity of neural networks models. In addition to this, it was found that there are several unresolved issues requiring further attention before more clear guidelines for the application of fuzzy inference systems can be given.

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