The Dongting Lake (Chinese洞庭湖, Pinyin Dongting Hu, Tung- t'ing Hu W.-G. ) in the north of Hunan Province is the second largest lake in the People's Republic of China. It is fed by several rivers and drains into the north past the lake flowing Yangtze River. The Hunan provinces ( "south of the lake " ) and Hubei ( "north of the lake " ) have been named based on their location on the lake.
The normal surface of the lake is 2820 km ²; in summer (July to September), when especially the flood of the Yangtze River flow into the lake, the area can expand to 20,000 km ². Thus, the Dongting Lake is an important natural reservoirs to regulate the water flow of the Yangtze River dar. This function, however, the lake is always less perceive as the floods that occur each year in ever shorter intervals exceed the critical brands. 1998 more than 4,000 people lost their lives in 2002 it was less because the levees held. During the flood, it is less the nature rather than man-made disasters. The deforestation of protected forests, draining of wetlands and conditioning of residential and industrial areas in previously used as a flood area for the lake areas have meant that they are irretrievably lost.
The entrained by the Yangtze River sediment, which was deposited in the Dongting level, led to the emergence of very fertile marsh soils, so that the level of the lake has become a major rice-growing areas of China was. Also to pass over extensive flooding areas lost.
While the flat Dongting Lake at the time of the Han Dynasty was the largest inland lake in China, its area has since become smaller by gaining new territory, so that it ranks today after the Poyang Lake in second place.
The opening into the Dongting Lake rivers, including Xiang ( 2288 m³ / s), Zi (795 m³ / s), Yuan ( 2158 m³ / s), Li ( 551 m³ / s) and Miluo, the lake result in the aggregate amount of about 6000 m³ / s of water, thus the lake outlet is by far the most water tributary of the Yangtze River. In addition, to achieve three southern tributaries of the Yangtze River with a total of over 3500 m³ / s medium flow volume of the lake. They exceed the volume of the Xiangjiang River, which the Dongting Lake is part of the Yangtze River run. Especially from this influx is large Schwebstoffmengen settle in the lake basin.
The main cities on the lake are Yueyang and Yuan Jiang. Changsha, the capital of Hunan, located about 60 km southeast of Dongting Lake and the Yangtze River can, the Dongting Lake and the Xiangjiang be reached by sea.