The Aral Sea - Water conflicts

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  • Created on: 11-01-13 07:47
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The Aral Sea Fact file:
Location: Central Asia, between Kazakhstan and
History: Prior to the shallowing, the Aral Sea was the fourth largest
lake in the world. It had ports, fish plants and fishing boats floated on
the Aral Sea. The Aral Sea began to shallow in the 60s, when the water
from rivers flowing into the sea was taken to the irrigation works. In
1989, the Aral Sea separated into two separate reservoirs: the Small
Aral Sea in Kazakhstan and the Large Aral Sea in Uzbekistan. In 2001,
the South (Large) Aral Sea was divided into western and eastern parts.
There is now very little water left only around 10%, instead of the former
deep sea, there is a new sand and saline Aralkum desert with the total
area of 38 000 km².
- People in the area may no longer be able to
feed themselves as the land has become so
- Up to 10 million people may be forced to
- Drinking water and crops made salty and
polluted due to rising water table
- Health problems caused by wind blown salt and
dust from the dried out seabed
- Infant mortality rates are among the highest in
the world with 10% of infants dying in their first year mainly of kidney and heart failure
- Unemployment and economic problems are everywhere
- Ships lie useless on the seabed
- Fishing employed 60,000 people in villages located round the sea and has now collapsed
- People migrating so further losses to the local economies
- Loss of major industry in the area
- Irrigation canals were poorly built allowing water to leak and evaporate, main Kara Kum canal
allows 30 to 75% of its water to go to waste
- Drinking water and parts of the seabed are heavily polluted due to weapons testing, industrial
projects and pesticide and fertilizer runoff
- Climate has changed making the area even more arid and prone to greater temperatures
- Only 160 of the regions 310 bird species remain
- 32 of the 70 mammal species remain
- Very few of the 24 fish species remain
Future plans:
In 2007 Kazakhstan gained a loan from the world bank for $126million to help save the
northern Aral Sea
The loan will be used to build another dam to bring the water back into the deserted port of
Kazakhstan already spent $68million on building a dam which split the sea into 2 parts
Communities in the area are already feeling the benefit, rain has returned and fishing started

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In Uzbekistan the future isn't as positive it is unlikely it will be saved as the water which would
be used to fill it up is needed to grow cotton which the economy of Uzbekistan is heavily
dependant on
2 main rivers are controlled by other countries and the area is very sensitive to conflict…read more


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