Timor-Leste has a total of 29 main river systems. All rivers are short and fast-flowing, taking water efficiently to the lowlands and into the sea, especially during the rainy season. Given the temporal variations in rainfall and the low capacity of upland areas to hold water, very few rivers flow all year round. Most are ephemeral, but with significant under bed flows in the lower reaches. The total internal renewable water resources are estimated at 8.215 km3 per year. Timor-Leste has only one large freshwater lake, Lake Ira Lalaru, which is a large, shallow and seasonally fluctuating lake. Groundwater is an important source of water for domestic use across the country, especially in upland and urban areas, but little is known about the quantity and quality of the resources. The agricultural sector consumes the majority of the country’s water.
This section provides insights into projected climate change impacts on various hydrological indicators.