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Rivers and lakes.
Travel on the rivers and lakes of Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan contains an extensive network of rivers and several large lakes. Many of Kazakhstan’s rivers drain within the republic, although the Ishim, Irtysh, and Tobol rivers flow north into Russia and eventually drain into the Arctic Ocean.
Due to dry weather conditions, the riverbeds of most of the republic’s small and medium-sized rivers remain dry for much of the year. One of Kazakhstan’s largest rivers, the Syr Darya, enters Kazakhstan in the south and follows a northwesterly course toward the northern portion of the Aral Sea, a saltwater lake that straddles Kazakhstan’s border with Uzbekistan.
The Ural River, which flows south from Russia, enters northwestern Kazakhstan and drains into the Caspian Sea, a saltwater lake that is the largest inland body of water in the world. The Caspian borders five countries and delineates roughly half of Kazakhstan’s western border.
Another large river, the Ili, enters Kazakhstan from China and drains into Lake Balkhash, a large lake in the eastern part of the country. A dam that was completed on the Ili in 1970 has reduced inflow to Lake Balkash, causing the lake’s surface level to lower.
Other large lakes in Kazakhstan include the freshwater lake Zaysan and the saltwater lakes Alakol and Tengiz. The river network is underdeveloped in Kazakhstan, due to a drought-prone climate.
There are not many lakes and rivers in the desert and semi-desert zones, but some more in the north of the country. The mountain regions of the country are mostly rich in surface water, numerous deep and rapid rivers and streams flow down from the mountains in summer.
There are several thousands of lakes with total area over 20000 sq.km. in the republic. Most of the lakes are located in the North and in the East. There are many lakes especially on valleys of the Tobol, Ishim interfluve and the Turgai Cavity, and also in Kokshetau region and in the Irtysh Valley.
The rivers and many lakes of Kazakhstan are wonderful resting-places and are a fine resource for the development of water based recreation.
"Zhetysu is the Land of tourism”. A Tourist Guide-book. Almaty. 2003. 68 p. and the material for this page is taken from the printed edition."Guide to Kazakhstan" Baur Publishing House. 2002.