Inner Mongolia’s lost lakes
In 1987, Inner Mongolia had 427 lakes that were larger than 1 square kilometer. By 2010, there were 145 of them. That means, Inner Mongolia had lost 66.04% of its lakes and only 33.96% of them remain.
Lake Hulun is located in the western region of the Hulunbuir grassland. Before 2000, its water surface covered 2,100 square kilometers. It began to shrink beginning that year, and by 2011, its water surface area was 1,750 square kilometers, a reduction of 17%, and its total volume of water dropped from 12 billion cubic meters to 4.5 billion cubic meters, a reduction of 62.5%. The amount of rainfall between the years 2000 and 2011 compared to that between the 1960s and the end of the 1990s lessened by 26.5% while the amount of evaporation increased by 7.1%, and the volume of water flowing into the lake dropped by 74.6%.
Juyan Lake is located in the Ejin Banner of the Alxa League in western Inner Mongolia. It has a western lake called Gashuun Nuur and an eastern lake called Sogo Nuur. The western Gashuun Nuur dried out in 1961 while the eastern Sogo Nuur dried out in 1992 but has reappeared in 2005, and as of August, 2012, it covers 38 square kilometers.
Tongliao city is the administrative seat of the Naiman Banner. Surrounding Tongliao city are the Hulun Nuur and Buir Lake, the Juyan Lake, the Hulunbuir grassland or Hulunbuir Plain, and the Ke’erqin sandy land neighboring the town of Ganqika. Reclamation of the Ke’erqin sandy land is being attempted.
Even though the desertification of Ke’erqin was due to the over use and over exploitation of the land by agricultural settlements, over extraction of coal and the over use of water resources to wash the coal are blamed as the main causes of desertification and the disappearance of Inner Mongolia’s lakes.