Balkhash
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Located at the south of Kazakhstan in a depression of tectonic origin, the Lake Balkhash has a current surface of 18.000 km▓. It is fed by several rivers of plain and by Ili which takes its source in the close Chinese mountains. Because mainly of an hydroelectric power plant built by the Chineses on the Ili river but also of a dam built by Kazakhs themselves on this same Ili river with an aim of irrigation, the Lake Balkhash sees its surface decreasing year by year.

Located in an arid semi-desertic area, the Lake Balkhash is of great importance for several reasons. First, it is full of fish and represents a richness for the local population living of fishing or treatment of fish. Then, it is also used like reserve of water with household, industrial and agricultural uses. Lastly, it is a remarkable ecosystem inhabited by a flora and an especially rich endemic fauna in the Ili delta. We must add that it is really beautiful by its turquoise surface in an ochrich yellow desert.

Kazakhstan thus must absolutely avoid a repetition of the ecological disaster known by the Aral Sea. However, the filling of the artificial lake built in Kaptchagay on the Ili river upstream of the Lake Balkhash consumes much water. It is only half filled and the Lake Balkhash already saw its level falling several meters. As fills the Kaptchagay dam lake, its surface increases and thus its evaporation increases. One will thus consume more and more water of Ili to complete to fill it with the detriment of the Lake Balkhash.

It is increasingly urgent to solve the hydrological problem of the Lake Balkhash but also of the whole Central Asia. First it is necessary to save the water taken in the lakes and rivers.Then, if that is not enough, water must be brought from an area where it does not miss. Even if that involves a considerable investment, the Channel of Ob is a medium-term need for the Central Asia.

The Lake Balkhash is not the only interesting body of water of Kazakhstan. This large country is constellated with lakes of various sizes as well in plain as in mountain.

Traversed by the legendary Silk Road, the southern part of Kazakhstan is also rich in monuments and historic sites. One of most interesting is the town of Turkestan. Dating from the fifth century B.C. Turkestan is regarded as a world monument of history, architecture and town planning, which reflects ethniques and cultural bonds between the countries of the Central Asia. It is classified with the world inheritance by UNESCO. Also to be visited : the old town of Taraz.

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