¡¡The mean annual precipitation of Xinjiang totals about 242.9 billion cubic meters. Among them 84% fall on mountain areas and one third flow together to form rivers. Precipitation of Xinjiang is unevenly distributed with its western part more abundant than eastern part its northern part more abundant than southern part and its mountain area more abundant than plain area. Its perennial rivers are mostly distributed at the piedmonts and in mountainlands of the Altay Mountains and the Western Tianshan mountains .
¡¡There are more than 570 large and small rivers, more than 270 mineral springs and more than 100 lakes in Xinjiang. Rivers located in the western mountainlands of the Altay Mountains and the Junggar Basin are mainly fed by seasonal snow ¨Cmelt water of high mountains and have stable flowing rate. Rivers located on the northern and southern side of the Eastern Tianshan Mountains are mainly fed by rainfall and their flowing rates vary greatly within a year, and some other rivers, such as those located on the southern and northern sides of the Tianshan Mountains, are mainly fed by underground spring water.
Except that the Ertix River flows across the boundary of China and empties into the Arctic Ocean, all rivers in Xinjiang are inland ones, Most of the rives in Xinjiang have many branches at their upper reaches. The scenery along their valleys is extremely beautiful.
¡¡The Tarim River is the largest inland river in China with a total length of 2100km. It has three tributaries is the Hotan River originating in the Kunlun Mountains and the third is the Aksu River originating in the western Tianshan mountains. The source of the Aksu River has very rich ice and snow resources. The main course of Tarim river is located in plain area and therefore its water moves slowly and is suitable for developing drifting activity. It had changed its course many times in its ending area in Lop Nur wasteland in the past. Such changes have aroused wide attention of many geographers and archaeologists.
¡¡Lake in Xinjiang can be classified into two main types. One is terminal saline lake. Such as Ebinur Lake, Sayram Lake, Ulungur Lake and Jili Lake. The other is fresh water lake with an inlet and an oulet, such as Kanas Lake, Bosten (Bagrax) Lake ,Tianchi lake and Kalakuli Lake. The areas of these lakes vary greatly, for instance, the Bosten (Bagrax) Lake has area of 980km, Ebinur lake, 500km and Sayram Lake, 457km. The water depth of these lakes ranges from several m to above 10 m. Only the depth of those lakes formed in glacial trough or glacial valley exceeds 50m. For instance the maximum depths of Kanas Lake and Tianchi Lake are 188.5m and 105m respectively. Most of them are situated in the depths of the forest with beautiful scenery and have become tourist spots. Besides, there are some dried up lakes in Xinjiang. Some of them have become salt marsh and wasteland.
Because of their special geographical position and development history, they have become the destination of tourists and scientific researchers. For instance, Lop Nur was a large lake in the past and dried up afterwards. A prosperous ancient kingdom, Loulan, was established in this place, thus giving this place a mysterious atmosphere. Aydingkol lake situated in the Turpan Basin has entirely dried up and appears as a vast expanse of salt incrustation. It is the lowest point in China with an elevation of 154.44m below sea level and has become a famous tourist spot.
¡¡There are many mineral sprigs in Xinjiang. Most of them have medical effect. The following springs are available for the residents and tourists to enjoy the use of them: Shuimogou Spring in Urumqi, Tagarma Spring in Taxkorgan, No 12 KUnes Spring in Hejing County, Qianlei Spring in Baicheng(Bay) County, Menkete Spring ,A rsongsayi Spring and Kahuinaozi Spring in Nilka County ,Zhihui S pring in Shufu County ,Huonuohai Spring in Qapqal County ,Xian Spring ,Tian Spring and Sheng Spring in Wenquan(Arixang)County and Liushu Spring in Wushi (Uqturpan)County.
¡¡In Xinjiang there is no large waterfall, but there are a great number of medium and tiny waterfalls. Most of them are located in mountainous areas with beautiful scenery and therefore have become famous tourist spot, such as Longchi waterfall in Kuqa County, Hudaosala waterfall in Takes County, Tianchi waterfall in Fukang County, Qakarpu waterfall in Xinyuan (kunes)County and Baiyanghe waterfall in Urumqi .
¡¡Xinjiang is a glacier ¨Cdeveloping area of China. There are 19 091glaciers in Xinjiang with a total area of about 26 517km and a total ice reserve of 5304.9billin m3. Glacial landform in Xinjiang vary greatly. Glacial landform in the mountainous are of the Tianshan Mountains is especially complex. Many glacier developing areas in Xinjiang have been opened up into tourist spots. Some of them combine with mountain peaks to form special tourism landscapes, such as Tomur peak glacier in the Tianshan Mountains ,Tianshan No.1 glacier at Daxigou of Nanshan in Urumqi, Bogda peak glacier, Yangbulak glacier in Muztagata of the Western Kunlun Mountains and Muztag peka glacier in the Kunlun Mountains. Glacier station, mountain-climbing base and tourist reception centre have been set up in some of these tourist spots
Updated: 24th, January 2011
Sources from: Traveling Around Xinjiang (Book)