Surface Water

surface  Water

Surface water, also called land water, consists of rivers, glaciers, lakes and marshes. It is one of the key water sources for people′s daily use and a major component of the world′s water resources. China′s rivers total 420,000 kilometers in length, where more than 2,711,500,000 cubic meters of water flows -- 5.8 percent of the world′s total. Although China′s rivers cover a large area, they are unevenly distributed. While the winter is dry in China, the summer has abundant rainfalls.

China′s glacier -- most of which is located in river fountainheads -- measures about 56.500 square kilometers, with a total water reserve of 2,964 billion cubic meters -- 50.46 billion of which melt annually. All the glaciers in China are mountain glaciers, which can be divided into two categories: continental glaciers, making up more than 80 percent of the total, and oceanic glaciers.

China′s lake distribution is also uneven. There are over 2,800 lakes measuring more than one square kilometer, with a total area of about 80,000 square kilometers. Most lakes are located in the Tibetan Plateau and middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River; freshwater lakes cover 36,000 square kilometers, accounting for 45 percent of the total. In addition, China boasts 86,000 man-made lakes and various water reservoirs.

China also has a large number of marshes. Only the peat marsh covers 113,000 square kilometers. Marshes are concentrated in two major areas -- the Sanjiang and Ruorgai Plateau.