FAQ: Why Was The Water Supply To The Aral Sea Diverted?

What has diversion of water from the Aral Sea led to?

Diversion of water sources has caused the Aral Sea in Central Asia to decline significantly over the past five decades. It has broken into several smaller seas, leaving behind a vast desert and a multitude of environmental, economic and social problems.

What happened to the Aral Sea and why?

The Aral Sea began to quickly shrink because of the evaporation of its now unreplenished waters. By 1989 the Aral Sea had receded to form two separate parts, the “Greater Sea” in the south and the “Lesser Sea” in the north, each of which had a salinity almost triple that of the sea in the 1950s.

What happened to the Aral Sea water supply?

The Aral Sea in the Soviet Union, formerly the world’s fourth largest lake in area, is disappearing. Between 1960 and 1987, its level dropped nearly 13 meters, and its area decreased by 40 percent. Recession has resulted from reduced inflow caused primarily by withdrawals of water for irrigation.

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What destroyed the Aral Sea?

In October 1990 Western scientists confirmed the virtual disappearance of the Aral Sea in Soviet Central Asia, formerly the fourth largest inland sea in the world. The loss of sea water was the result of 60 years of intensive agriculture and pollution by the Soviet authorities.

Did the Aral Sea dry up?

In 2014, the eastern lobe of the South Aral Sea completely disappeared. Water levels in summer 2018 were not as low as they might have been, following a round of seasonal snowmelt in the spring. As the Aral Sea has dried up, fisheries and the communities that depended on them collapsed.

What is the main cause of death of Aral Sea?

By the 1950s, the Aral Sea was shrinking rapidly. A Soviet program to gain agricultural independence accelerated the water diversion, to the point that flow into the Sea declined eleven fold. Evaporation meant the remaining water had high salinity, effectively killing the once-thriving fishery.

Does the Aral Sea still exist?

Once the fourth-largest freshwater lake in the world, the Aral Sea today is a tenth of its original size. Water levels dropped and the once abundant populations of bream, carp and other freshwater fish dwindled with them. Today, the sea is a 10th of its original size and has almost split in two.

Why is Aral Sea not a lake?

Sandwiched between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, the Aral Sea is actually a lake, albeit a salty, terminal one. It is salty because evaporation of water from the lake surface is greater than the amount of water being replenishing through rivers flowing in. It is terminal because there is no outflowing river.

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Can the Aral Sea be restored?

There is no work under way to restore the southern region. It has always looked like a lost cause. So Aladin says it will keep shrinking and getting saltier until only brine shrimp are left. Using less water to irrigate crops could restore the entire Aral Sea, says Micklin.

Who is responsible for the Aral Sea disaster?

By establishing a program to promote agriculture and especially that of cotton, Soviet government led by Khrouchtchev in the 1950s deliberately deprived the Aral Sea of its two main sources of water income, which almost immediately led to less water arriving to the sea.

What lives in the Aral Sea?

Four decades ago, the Aral Sea offered a constant supply of fish. Two dozen species thrived in its waters, including caviar-rich sturgeon, pike perch, and silver carp, known locally as fat tongue.

What is the problem in the Aral Sea?

The change in water quality in the Aral Sea basin reduced the number of fish in the river and in the sea, and destroyed most of fauna (2,3). International experts confirm that most water sources in Karakalpakstan are polluted, and that the pollution is mainly caused by the agro-industry and mining industries.

Is the Aral Sea polluted?

The water from the diverted Syr Darya river is used to irrigate about two million hectares (5,000,000 acres) of farmland in the Ferghana Valley. The Aral Sea region is heavily polluted, with consequent serious public health problems.

What are the effects of the Aral Sea shrinking?

The shrinking Aral Sea has also had a noticeable affect on the region’s climate. The growing season there is now shorter, causing many farmers to switch from cotton to rice, which demands even more diverted water. A secondary effect of the reduction in the Aral Sea’s overall size is the rapid exposure of the lake bed.

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How deep is the Aral Sea?

42 m

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