Lakes in Kazakhstan and Kyrgystan
This image highlights several of the lakes in the southeastern part of Kazakhstan and in the northeastern area of Kyrgyzstan.
The large, dark blue lake in the lower right quadrant is Lake Issyk Kul. Surrounded by the snow-covered peaks of the Tian Shan Mountains in eastern Kyrgyzstan, it nevertheless is ice free. In fact, Issyk Kul never freezes, remaining true to its name, which translates to “warm lake”.
The large lake in the upper section is Lake Balqash, in southeastern Kazakhstan. It appears covered with some ice. Balqash is part of the same basin that includes the Caspian and Aral Seas.
Like the Aral Sea, diversion of water from the rivers feeding Lake Balqash is causing it to shrink. This is a great cause of environmental concern, as many species living in the lake are becoming extinct due to water pollution, which has intensified due to the lake’s decrease in size.
One such river that has been diverted is the Ili River, which was dammed in 1970 to form the Kapchagayskoye Reservoir, the greenish lake visible between Lake Balqash and Lake Issyk Kul.