XI'AN, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Hongjiannao Lake, China's largest desert freshwater lake, expanded in 2016 for the first time in a decade.
The surface area of the lake, located in Shenmu County, northwest China's Shaanxi Province, stood at 32.94 square kilometers by the end of last year, up around 4.5 percent year on year, according to statistics from the provincial remote sensing information center for agriculture.
The lake, sandwiched between the Muus Desert in Shaanxi and the Erdos Plateau in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, saw its water level retreat by 30 to 60 centimeters a year since 2006.
In 2015, it shrank to less than 32 square kilometers. At its largest, the lake covered 67 square kilometers in 1969.
Significant increase in precipitation, including artificial rainfall, as well as more water from reservoirs upstream, contributed to the lake's expansion.