Aral Sea Case Study

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  • ARAL SEA CASE STUDY
    • Was once one of 4 largest lakes in world
      • Now split into two lakes
      • Reduced to 1/10th of its size due to irrigation canals
        • Irrigation canals added for farming of cotton "white gold", rice and melons
    • Level has dropped by unto 40m
    • Environmental Impact --> sea water left land too saturated in salt to even grow crops.
      • Environmental impact --> Camels eating salty grass caused them to slowly die off
    • Greenpeace "worst manmade disaster in history"
    • INFANT MORTALITY RATES = AMONG HIGHEST OF THE WORLD - 10% of babies dying before age 1 due to heart and kidney failure
    • ARAL SEA crisis has involves stake holders - former Soviet Union, fishermen, local residents
      • USSR- Communist leaders began ambitious irrigation scheme to de vela fruit and cotton farming
        • Unproductive reigon
        • Fishermen -  Created jobs within farming, but caused 40,000 fishermen to lose jobs (industry collapsed). MASS UNEMPLOYMENT
      • Residents - health problems caused by wind blowing salt and dust - dust due to desertification
        • Drinking water became heavily polluted. Caused by result of weapon testing, industrial projects, pesticides and fertiliser run-off
        • Up to 10 million people could be forced to migrate and become environmentalrefugees
    • Restoration of the Aral Sea - 2007 - World Bank provided Kazakhstan government with $126 million loan to save Northern part of Aral Sea
      • Kazakhstan gov. used an earlier loan of $68 million loan to build Kokaral dam (2003) that separated the two halves of the Aral Sea. Completed in 2005 and allowed more fresh water IN and less OUT --> water level rise by 10m as a result
      • New loan used to build a second dam to bring the water back to the deserted port Aralsk. Communities in area already feeling the impact. Fishermen back in boats, rain has returned
        • However, action taken so far has NOT solved problem on Uzbekistan side of border. Only K is benefitting. Southern part of sea is still shrinking
          • Uzbekistan dependent on cash crop cotton and need water for it --> no water so cannot grow crops. Both rivers that feed into the Aral Sea are controlled by other countries

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