Tonle Sap is Southeast Asia's largest freshwaterlake. Flooding during the rainy season each year reverses the flow of the Tonle Sap River and triples the surface area of the lake. Large areas of grassland and forest are flooded, creating a highly productive area that supports one of the largest freshwater fisheries in the world.
-Latitude 12° 58' 48" (12.9800)
-Longitude 103° 54' 0" (103.9000)
-River Basin MekongPhysical Characteristics
The surface area of Lake Tonle Sap varies greatly by season.
Data sources report surface areas of from 2,569.9 km2 to 30,000 km2. Furthermore, as the main Mekong flood level heightens each year during the southwest monsoon every June or July, the direction of flow of the Tonle Sap River reverses, creating the exceptional water regime with huge changes in the lake water level (from about 1m up to 10 meters) and water volume (from about 2,500 km2 to approximate 11,000 km2) between seasons.
- Volume 40.00 km3
- Surface Area 13,000.00 km2
- Depth Mean depth: 1.0 m
- Maximum depth: 10.0 m
- Origin River
- Type Fresh
- Catchment Catchment size: 70,000.00 km2
- Catchment/surface area ratio: 5:1
Economic Value: Tonle Sap provides 75% of Cambodia's national inland fish production. Fishing and agricultural activities around the lake support 1.2 million Cambodians. Fish from Tonle Sap are thought to be the single main source of protein for the Cambodian people.
Approximately: 3 million people live around the lake.
The Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve management is based on identifying three zones (core areas, buffer zone and transition zone) and identifying different management goals for each. The core areas are set aside for long term protection and conservation.
Issues Fish stocks andcatch are dropping, deforestation is widespread and sewage & other waste are polluting the lake, which provides drinking water for thousands. The largest threats to the flooded forests are the clearing of forests to make way for agricultural land, collection of firewood, and collection of wood for fish traps.
Other Issues Erosion
- Nutrient pollution