|Quick Facts:||Lake Balkhash|
|Countries:||Kazakhstan China Kyrgyzstan|
|Area:||18.428 km² (7.115 mi²)|
|Avg. Depth:||5.8 m (19 ft)|
|Max. Depth:||26 m (85 ft)|
|Surface elevation:||341.4 m (1.120 ft)|
|Frozen Period:||November – March|
Lake Balkhash or Balqash Köli is a body of water situated in southeastern Kazakhstan (85%) with 15% surface area in China and also having a small waterfront in Kyrgyzstan. With an area of about 7,115 square miles (18,428 sq km), the lake is approximately 376 miles (605 km) long but only 15 to 50 miles (24 to 80 km) wide. It is shaped like a broad crescent and is fed chiefly by the Ili River.
The northern edge is well defined, but the southern shore is a labyrinth of islands, peninsulas, and strips of shallow water. The water is fresher in the west, near the mouth of the Ili, and more saline in the east. Carp and perch are found in the shallower waters, and there are copper deposits on the northern shore. The shoreline began receding in 1960, owing to evaporation and increased usage of river water for irrigation.