Aral Sea. The Aral sea is located in Central Asia in the lowlands of Turan. It is more than 5 million years old and was once the 4 th largest lake in the world. The AmuDarya and SyrDarya are the two main rivers flowing into the Aral.
The Aral sea is located in Central Asia in the lowlands of Turan. It is more than 5 million years old and was once the 4th largest lake in the world. The AmuDarya and SyrDarya are the two main rivers flowing into the Aral.
Today the Aral and surrounding territories are world-known for ecological disasters.
In spite of intensive glacier melting which should have led to increase of territory of the Aral Sea, during last 25 years disastrous reduction of the largest inland water body takes place. In the time from 1960 till now the Aral has reduced an 2/3 of its original capacity.
The destruction of the Aral Sea ecosystem has been sudden and severe. Beginning in the 1960s, agriculture demands have starved this large central Asian salt lake of enough water to sustain itself, and it has shrunk rapidly.
Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and other Central Asian states use this water to grow cotton and other export crops, this was the main reason the area was developed.
Environmental consequences, including loss of business for loacal fisherman, water and soil contamination.
Poverty and export dependency of the Central Asian states have prevented real action, and the sea continues to shrink.
Why was water management necessary?
South of the Sea lies the Amudarya delta, a 28,000 sq km area used for the production of rice and cotton, the region’s most profitable cash crops. In the days of the Cold War, the Aral Sea basin was designated by the former Soviet Union as land that would provide independence from the West.
Increase employment in primary sector.
Benefit local people from the sales of cotton.
Russia is self sufficient and doesn’t need to import cotton.
Abandoned fishing boats and scattered marine equipment litter the dry, dusty plains previously covered with water.
As water quantity diminished, salinity rose to levels toxic for fish and other wildlife. The first drastic increase occurred between 1971 and 1975 when salinity rose to 12-14%. In the late 1980s the salinity reached 23%.
An estimated 60,000 people abandoned their fishing livelihoods. Carp, bream, pike-perch, barbel, sturgeon, and many other types of commercial species of fish used to bolster profitable businesses. Commercial fishing ceased in 1982, and soon muskrat farms and other game trades followed suit.
The environment around the Aral sea has been compared to Africa’s.
Of the region’s 500 species of birds, 200 species of mammals, and 100 species of fish most have perished over the past four decades.
Water had been so heavily diverted that by 1995 hardly a stream reached the Sea from either the Amudarya in the south or the Syrdarya in the north.
In the 35 years from 1960 to 1995 the Sea’s surface area decreased by half, three quarters of water volume was lost, and its depth lowered by 19 meters.