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Lake Profile


General Information

Description Lake Ulungur is a closed inland lake, with its water supplied by the Ulungur River, groundwater, precipitation and melted snow. The lake's water level has decreased by 57 square kilometers over the last 30 years due to diversions for irrigation.
Country China
Latitude 47° 15' 0" (47.2500)
Longitude 87° 15' 0" (87.2500)

Physical Characteristics

Surface Area 895.00 km2
Depth Mean depth: 8.0 m
Maximum depth: 12.0 m
Age 100,000 - 999,999 years before present
Origin Tectonic
Type Saline
Catchment Catchment size: 2,203.00 km2
Catchment/surface area ratio: 2:1


Economic Value Economically, Ulungur Lake is mainly used for aquaculture. As the lake surface has shrunk and mineralization of the water has increased, fish production has declined. This trend has been reversed somewhat by the broadening of a canal to draw water from the Ertix River.

Ecologically, the lake regulates the microclimate and provides storage for water that might otherwise flood human communities.

Major Cities

Watershed Management

Description Numerous projects to increase the flow of water from the Ertix River (73 km from the lake) into the lake are expected to improve Ulungur water quality. Greater enforcement of fishery regulations is planned.
Issues Numerous non-native fish species have been introduced into Ulungur Lake. As the lake shrinks, the water is getting more and more salty. Irrigation tail water running into the lake adds to its salinization. The area of desertification around the lake has enlarged. The area of marshland has decreased.
Other Issues Irrigation
Watershed habitat alteration

Biodiversity Conservation

Description Seventy five species of phytoplankton live in the lake. Overall, the variety of species and number of aquatic organisms in Lake Ulungur has decreased, as has vegetation coverage.
Species of Concern



Crop Explorer - Global Reservoir and Lake Elevation Monitoring
Crop Explorer - Lake Level Variations from TOPEX/POSEIDON and Jason-1 Altimetry for Ulungur
ILEC Database

Additional Data Sources

Birkett, C., and I. Mason. 1995. A new global lakes database for remote sensing programme studying climatically sensitive large lakes. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 21 (3) 307-318.
International Lake Environment Committee, the United Nations Environment Program and Environment Agency, Government of Japan. 1997. World Lakes Database.

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