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Assessment of the salinization processes in the largest inland freshwater lake of China

Guo, Mengjing, Zhou, Xiaode, Li, Jing, Wu, Wei, Chen, Yongmin
Stochastic environmental research and risk assessment 2015 v.29 no.7 pp. 1823-1833
arid zones, drinking water, economic development, freshwater, humans, irrigated farming, lakes, salinity, semiarid zones, space and time, viability, water quality, China
Salinization threatens the viability of water resources and is common in many important inland freshwater lakes worldwide, especially in arid and semi-arid areas. Bosten Lake is a typical inland freshwater lake that has evolved into a subsaline lake and is located in the arid region of Northwest China. The water resources of Bosten Lake are important for supplying regional drinking water and agricultural irrigation and for economic development. In this study, changes in salinity with time and space were analyzed in Bosten Lake. Overall, the salinity increased from 0.39 g/L in 1958 to 1.87 g/L in 1987, reaching its highest value in 1987. After 1987, the salinity decreased to 1.17 g/L in 2003 and increased to 1.45 g/L in 2010. Increased salinity adversely affects aquatic lake systems, regional eco-environments and water resource use, and has become a serious environmental problem in Bosten Lake. Thus, the causes of increasing salinity are discussed in this paper. Overall, the influences of climate variations and human activities resulted in the salinization of the lake. Understanding the salinization processes in Bosten Lake can be useful for implementing actions that improve water quality and water resource use in the lake.