ASTANA – The Bukhtarma water reservoir in East Kazakhstan region is more than just one of the five largest artificial reservoirs in the world. Surrounded by the Altai Mountains and forests, its beauty has also made it a popular recreation spot.
The reservoir was created during the construction of Bukhtarma hydroelectric power plant on the Irtysh River in 1960. It includes parts along the Irtysh River and Zaisan Lake.
The reservoir’s power plant produces electricity and the water body creates favorable conditions for ships to travel along the river to Omsk, Russia. The reservoir is also used for irrigation and water supply to nearby settlements.
Bukhtarma, the largest artificial water reservoir in Kazakhstan, is commonly referred to as the sea because of its size at 425 kilometres long and 35 kilometres wide. The average depth is 9.6 metres, although it reaches 60 metres.
The mountains, pine forests with aspens and rowans and fresh air carrying the scent of medicinal herbs surrounding Bukhtarma have made the spot popular with domestic and foreign tourists.
Bukhtarma offers health spas, resorts and cottages along the shore starting from 4,000 tenge (US$12) per day for one person.
The recreation area is easily accessible as recreations zones are located 80-150 kilometres from Ust-Kamenogorsk. Tourists can travel from Ust-Kamenogorsk to New Bukhtarma station by train or bus and then take a taxi to any recreation zone along the reservoir coast.
The full beauty of Bukhtarma can be enjoyed during the summer, when water temperature reaches 23 degrees Celsius. It is a lovely spot for trekking, picking berries in the forests, swimming and sunbathing.