The Sistan Basin lies on the Iran-Afghanistan border. Melted snow from the Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan nourishes this dry basin. The Helmand River carries the snowmelt across the Margo Desert and into the Sistan Basin, where the water pools into Lake Hamoun. Sometimes anyway. Lake Hamoun is seasonal, and water is generally only present during the spring melt season.
Surrounded by hundreds of kilometers of arid plains, the Sistan Basin is in one of the driest regions of the world, so the three shallow lakes that make up Hamoun naturally expand and contract in the wet to dry seasons. These lakes and wetlands once supported great plant and animal diversity. But the combination of drought and water diversion for irrigation has caused Lake Hamoun to nearly disappear, along with the local bird and fish populations.
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