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The aralsea

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The aralsea

  1. 1. The ARAL SEA How poor water management has had disastrous environmental, economic & social consequences.
  2. 2. Location <ul><li>The Aral Sea lies on the border of Kazakhstan & Uzbekistan, in Central Asia. </li></ul><ul><li>It is part of what was until 1991 the old Soviet Union. </li></ul><ul><li>It was the World’s 4 th largest inland sea. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Location <ul><li>The Aral sea is in the middle of the Central Asian Desert. </li></ul><ul><li>Summer temperatures rise to over 40 o C. </li></ul><ul><li>The Aral Sea is fed by 2 rivers Syr Dar’ya & Amu Dar’ya. These rivers rise in the mountains to the South. </li></ul><ul><li>There is no outlet river. </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Problem <ul><li>The Aral Sea is gradually shrinking & drying up. </li></ul><ul><li>The sea has now divided into 2 smaller seas, shortly to be 3. </li></ul><ul><li>Why? </li></ul>
  5. 6. Causes <ul><li>In one word – Cotton </li></ul><ul><li>During the Soviet era Uzbekistan was designated as a major cotton growing region of the USSR. Cotton is known as “white gold” & is highly profitable to grow. </li></ul><ul><li>The Fergana Valley became a huge cotton growing area. </li></ul>
  6. 7. Causes <ul><li>To make cotton grow in a desert large quantities of water are needed (Irrigation). </li></ul><ul><li>Dams were constructed on the rivers & canals diverted the water to the cotton growing farms. </li></ul><ul><li>This reduced the flow of water reaching the Aral Sea. </li></ul>
  7. 8. The Second Problem <ul><li>The water quality in the Aral Sea began to decline rapidly </li></ul>
  8. 9. Causes <ul><li>The sea became saltier due to evaporation. </li></ul><ul><li>As the sea shrank the remaining salt was concentrated in less water </li></ul>
  9. 10. Causes <ul><li>More serious was pollution from a range of toxic chemicals. </li></ul><ul><li>Large quantities of fertilizer, insecticides, herbicides, defoliants etc were applied to the cotton. </li></ul><ul><li>These chemicals were returned to the rivers with the remaining irrigation water & eventually ended up in the Aral Sea. </li></ul>
  10. 11. Impacts <ul><li>The wetlands of the river deltas dried out, drastically affecting the wildlife of the area. </li></ul><ul><li>Large areas of the former Aral Sea were reduced to barren lifeless salt plains. </li></ul><ul><li>The fish numbers & the birds which fed on them declined rapidly. </li></ul>
  11. 12. Impacts <ul><li>Once prosperous seaside villages were left “high & dry” many kilometres from the receding sea this caused further problems. </li></ul><ul><li>Local wells have dried up as the water table has dropped. </li></ul><ul><li>The fishing industry collapsed. </li></ul><ul><li>Fish processing factories closed or had to be supplied from outside areas. </li></ul><ul><li>Unemployment rose rapidly, people began to migrate away from the area. </li></ul>
  12. 13. Impacts As the sea shrank boats were left “high & dry” the area is now littered with rusting hulks.
  13. 15. <ul><li>Perhaps the biggest problem has been a decline in the health of the local inhabitants. </li></ul><ul><li>The chemicals have seeped into the local water supply causing a wide range of health problems such as cancer, tuberculosis, deformities in babies, liver & kidney failure, anaemia, lung disease & high infant mortality etc. </li></ul>Signing up for health care A TB sufferer Polluted water Infant Mortality & childhood illnesses have increased.
  14. 17. The remaining Issues <ul><li>The scheme is no longer under the control of one government. International co-operation is required to reach sustainable solutions. </li></ul><ul><li>Local populations are in desperate need of safe drinking water. </li></ul><ul><li>The sustainability of growing cotton under irrigation in desert regions needs to be considered. Economic activities that are less dependent on large quantities of water need to be considered. </li></ul><ul><li>Agricultural efficiency needs to be reviewed. There are significant loss of cotton and rice in storage and transpiration. Crop rotation and appropriate technologies need to be used to improve efficiency. </li></ul><ul><li>Irrigation systems need to be redesigned to reduce water loss and the allocation of water needs to be rationed. </li></ul>