Case Study Aral Sea

  • Created by: Amy Brown
  • Created on: 04-06-14 20:54
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  • What problems can the use of water sources create
    • Secure water supplies are needed to support irrigation and food production, manufacturing and energy generation
      • However the use of water sources can lead to various problems e.g. the depletion of underground aquifers and salinisation of the soil
    • Case Study: Aral Sea
      • North-Western part of Uzbekistan and Southern Kazakhstan
      • Formerly one of the four largest lakes of the world with an area of 68,000km^2, the Aral Sea has been steadily shrinking since the 1960s
      • Causes
        • Early 1960's the Soviet central government decided to make the Soviet Union self-sufficient in cotton and increase rice production
        • Government officials ordered the additional amount of needed water to be taken from two rivers that feed the Aral sea.
        • Large dams were built across both rivers, and an 850 mile central canal with a far reaching system of "feeder" canals were created
      • Impacts
        • Over 30 years, the Aral Sea experienced a severe drop in water level, shoreline receded and salt content increased.
          • The water level has dropped by 16 metres and the volume has been reduced by 75%
        • Marine environment became hostile to the sea life in it, killing the plants and animals. Marine life died-fishing industry suffered
          • All 20 known fish species in the Aral Sea are now extinct, unable to survive the toxic, salty sludge
        • The sea has shrunk to 2/5 of its original size and now ranks about 10th in the world
        • Drinking water supplies have dwindled, water is contaminated with pesticides as well as bacteria and viruses
        • Highly toxic pesticides and other harmful chemicals are blown from the dried up sea creating dust containing toxic-chemicals
        • As the Aral Sea has lost water, the climate has become extreme
        • Respiratory illnesses including tuberculosis and cancer are increasing
        • High child mortality rate of 75 in every 1,000 newborns
    • Stakeholders involved
      • Former soviet government
      • Fishing community
      • Local residents
      • Scientists
      • International economists


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