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Turkmenistan. An Environmental Overview By : Matt Sherman Spring Semester – UW Eau Claire Geography 308 – Eastern European and Russian Geography. Turkmenistan Overview. Left the USSR in 1991 Population of 4,863,169 (July 2004 est.) which ranks 115 th in the world.

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An Environmental Overview

By : Matt Sherman

Spring Semester – UW Eau Claire

Geography 308 – Eastern European and Russian Geography

turkmenistan overview
Turkmenistan Overview
  • Left the USSR in 1991
  • Population of 4,863,169 (July 2004 est.) which ranks 115th in the world.
  • Bordering Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, and the Caspian Sea
  • Sub-tropical climate
  • Niyazov Dictatorship still in place
turkmenistan and environmental problems
Turkmenistan and Environmental Problems
  • Irrigation problems
  • The soil contamination from sediments river water
  • Decline in the water level of the Amu Darya
  • The disappearance of the Aral Sea

Karakum River

irrigation problems
Irrigation Problems
  • Amu Darya (River)
    • Main source of water for drinking, agriculture, and supply to the Karakum (Garagum in Turkmenistan) Canal and the Aral sea
    • Accounts for 90% of water used in country
    • Contamination of surface

water with agricultural

chemicals and pesticides

is a serious problem

past solutions
Past Solutions
  • The Karakum Canal
    • Provides water to the more areas along southern Turkmenistan
    • Criticized because of the amount of water diverted from the shrinking Aral Sea
    • With out the Karakum Canal there would be little to no agriculture in the Southern parts of Turkmenistan
current solutions
Current Solutions
  • Construction of a new lake in the middle of the Karakum Desert
  • Cost is about 4.5 billion US dollars
  • Estimated to be complete in 20 years
possible negatives
Possible Negatives
  • The lake could pollute massive amounts of land with salt.
  • Most of the water would evaporate from an open-air lake in the type of climate the Karakum desert has.
  • Could take even more water away from the Amu Darya and Aral Sea.
problems with the soil
Problems with the Soil
  • The soil used for agriculture is full of chemicals and pesticides
  • The lack of adequate soil causes the over use of the main growing and grazing lands
  • The increasing salinity levels are making it harder and harder to produce agriculture
categories of soils by salinity levels
Categories of Soils by Salinity Levels
  • As salinity levels increase, plants extract water less easily from soil. High soil salinity can also cause nutrient imbalances and cause the process of desertification to speed up.
water levels falling in the amu darya
Water Levels Falling in the Amu Darya
  • From 1960-1996 the volume of water has dropped 80%
  • The lower reaches of the river once contained a large delta that supported extensive vegetation, but most of the delta has dried up due to reduced water flow.
  • Major reason is the Karakum Canal
  • Amu Darya also supports Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and the Aral Sea
river basin problems
River Basin Problems
  • Overuse of the river
  • Any and all chemicals used in area of river basin make it to the river and pollute the water
the disappearance of the aral sea
The Disappearance of the Aral Sea
  • Was once the 4th largest sea in the World
  • Largest contributor to the disappearance is the over use of the Amu Darya River
consequences of disappearing aral sea
Consequences of Disappearing Aral Sea
  • Climatic consequences
    • Mesoclimatic changes (increase of continentality)
    • Increase of salt and dust storms
    • Shortening of the vegetation period
  • Health consequences
    • Increase of serious diseases( e.g. cholera, typhus, gastritis, blood cancer)
    • Increase of respiratory system diseases (asthma, bronchitis)
    • Birth defects and high infant mortality
  • Ecological / economic consequences
    • Degeneration of the delta ecosystems
    • Total collapse of the fishing industry (originally 44,000 t/a)
    • Decrease of productivity of agricultural fields
possible solutions
Possible Solutions
  • Kazakhstan government, along with the World Bank, began a massive restoration project for the Aral Sea.
  • The southern Aral Sea has been considered beyond saving, and the restoration effort will instead focus on the much smaller, but less polluted and saline, northern sea
  • Turkmenistan is helping destroy the Aral Sea but without the use of the Amu Darya River Turkmenistan would be destroyed.
  • The soil is going through the process of desertification and becoming less and less useful.
  • The Amu Darya River is losing water because of the Karakum Canal and other tributaries.
  • Production of a giant artificial lake being created in Karakum desert will help the country's growing water needs but may also cause more problems than it solves.