Category: Endorheic Basins

Basins that do not have outlets that reach the sea

Endorheic Basins

What remains of the large inland lake is a fraction of what it was in the 1950s and 60s. In those years, the government of the former Soviet Union diverted so much water from the Amu Darya and Syr Darya—the regions’ two major rivers—to irrigate farmland, that it pushed the hydrologic system beyond the point of sustainability. During subsequent decades, the fourth largest lake in the world shrank to roughly a tenth of its former size and divided into several smaller bodies of water.

Source: Endorheic global decline

Definition:  surface flow is landlocked from the ocean


  • Cover 20% of the Earth’s land surface, and nearly 50% of its water-stressed regions
  • Decreases appear to be related to recent climate conditions in conjunction with direct human activities

Terrestrial Water Storage Changes in Endorheic Basins April 2002-March 2016

Adapated from Table 1 Endorheic global decline
*Terrestrial Water Storage = Groundwater + soil moisture + surface waters + snow + ice