Kapchagay Reservoir, also spelled Qapshaghay Bogeni Reservoir and sometimes referred to as Lake Kapchagay, is a major reservoir in Almaty Region in southeastern Kazakhstan, approximately 80 kilometres north of Almaty. The 140 kilometre long lake is formed by a dam on the Ili River which flows from the mountains in the east towards Lake Balkhash to the northwest. It is named after the town of Kapchagay, which is located on its western bank. During the summer months the lake attracts a number of tourists from Almaty, who frequent its beachy shores on the weekends.
In some parts of the Kapshagay reservoir, a coastal zone was created, which is now known as Kapshagay lake (* because of its impressive size (length 180 km, width 22 km, depth up to 50 m). It was created about 15 years (1965-1980) and is almost the largest artificial lake in Kazakhstan.
In 1967, an extension of irrigated areas began, and in 1970, the Kapchagay Reservoir, the largest reservoir in the region, began to fill. The lake is located some 80 km north of the old capital of Almaty.
The reservoir was created with the aim of regulating river flow and meeting growing economic demands. A dam and hydroelectric power plant were erected on the River Ili, creating the Kapchagay reservoir. However, the project took years to complete on account of the inadequacy of the water sources.
It was expected that the reservoir would be a major benefit to the arid soil in the region; however, the complete filling of the Kapchagay reservoir started to affect the water level in lake Balkhash. Filling of the reservoir discontinued in 1982. By 1986, Kapchagay reservoir was still only half full, this improved by 1988. Nevertheless, in 1991, the volume of Kapchagay reservoir was only 36% of the capacity originally projected.
In recent years, the area has become one of the best-known resort destinations in Kazakhstan. This is largely due to the area’s scenery, which includes the Trans-Ili Alatau mountains (part of the northern Tien Shan mountain system), and the Almaty Nature Reserve on the reservoir’s East coast. The Kapchagay lake has also become a popular resort on account of the area’s good weather conditions, as well as its recreation spaces that include boating, catamarans, boats, jet skis, yachts, entertainment centers, and casinos. Kapchagay reservoir is currently one of the most visited places in the Almaty region.
The reservoir presently has multipurpose functions, serving for hydroelectricity production, irrigation storage, transport, fisheries, urban and industrial water supplies, regulation of water discharges to maintain water quality, for nature conservation and recreation.
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