Sea of Aral
See also: Aral (homonymy)
The sea of Aral is the name of a Inland sea of Central Asia, located between 43° and 46° of northern Latitude and between 58° and 62° of Longitude is. It is divided between the Kazakhstan in north and the Ouzbékistan in the south.
In 1960, it covered: 68000 km. Into 2000, this surface was already divided by two. Separation between Small sea with north and Grande sea in the south goes back to 1989. The evolution initially let predict the total disappearance of the second by 2025, before alteration work is not operated. In 2007, one notes that the sea level of Aral goes up spectacularly, more quickly than the experts in load of the file hoped for it.
Receiving water of two rivers, the Amou-Daria and the Syr-Daria, the sea of Aral is drained gradually since about thirty years. Indeed, the flow of these two rivers decreased considerably (90% for Syr-Daria), because of the taking away carried out by the republics of Central Asias, started as of 1920 and intensified thereafter (the Fifties): the Ouzbékistan irrigating the fields of Cotton and the Kazakhstan maintaining the Rice ières in full desert.
Currently, the sea level of Aral dropped by 22 m since 1960, it lost 60% of its surface. Its volume passed from: 1100 km to 650 km of 1960 to 1990. The coasts moved back of more than 80 km. However if one were to withdraw the stoppings, the sea would put 30 to 40 years to fill again.
This draining has multiple fatal consequences:
- the reduction in evaporation returns the drier Climat of the area, by decreasing the quantity of Précipitation S;
- vast the Sea-beds left with naked is swept by the winds which carry salt with far and sterilize the vast wide ones of cultivable grounds; these salt storms, which go until the Pamir, cause Anémie S (80% of the expectant mothers), and cancers of the stomach;
- the increase in the Salinité (last from 9 to 49 G per liter on average, with points to 85 G, against 30 to 35 for the other seas) of water kills fish, which removed any fishing; only a mutant species of Sole survived;
- the retreat of the sea combined with the fall of precipitations causes a regression of the ground water, of which some became brackish.
- there is moreover pollution to the Engrais and the Herbicide S of the 2 rivers which feed the sea.
Attempts at rescue
The only crowned attempt at success to date is the construction of a dam in the south of the mouth of Syr-Daria, to bar a strait between the Small sea ( Maloïé ), old bordering sea in the north of the old sea of Aral, and the Large sea ( Bolchoïé , which remains south of the large sea). The mayor of the town of Aralsk, Alachibaï made build in 1995 a Digue 22 km length out of sand and reeds. Completed in 1996, it immediately made it possible to prevent that water of the river is not lost in the delta between Petite and Large sea and to make go up the level of the Small sea. A pretense of life renaquît around the sea, which advanced several kilometers: Roseau X, Oiseau X, Rongeur S and Renard S, and even some Poisson S. a storm destroyed this dam in 1999, and the sea level has reperdu partially what had been gained.
The the World Bank decided to finance the construction of a concrete stopping as well as a series of dams in order to eliminate excess from salt by outfalls and to make go up the level of water. This discussed project, from which work began in 2003 should in the long term make it possible the Small sea to regain approximately 500 square kilometers, but it is also likely to condemn the Large sea to a draining even faster, even if a valve located above it stopping envisages to transfer the water overflow in Large Aral, located for a good portion in Ouzbékistan.
Thus the stopping which makes it possible the life to return in the Small sea is a bone of contention between the Kazakhstan which benefits from it and the Ouzbékistan whose disastrous management of Amou Daria destroyed any life in the Large sea.
In Kazakhstan, a hope reappears with the pharaonic projects of the president Noursoultan Nazarbaïev. It is indeed question of raising the level of the small sea of 6 meters, which would allow industry fishing to reappear, and with the town of Aralsk to become again a port. This project estimated at 120 million dollars (: 98000000 of euros) would be financed mainly by the incomes of the Pétrole of Kazakhstan. This project also envisages the digging of a junction canal between the two basins and the construction of new structures to exploit hydroelectric energy.
Since the beginning of work, the average depth of Small Aral passed from less than 30 meters to 38 meters, the level of viability being estimated at 42 meters. Whereas specialists in the World Bank had expected that water would go up not before three years - other hydrologists having even issued that the sea of Aral was irremediably lost -, the small sea already regained 30% of its surface, which represents more than 10 billion cubic meters water.
However, for certain Kazakh persons in charge, one should not be delighted too early because it will probably take decades to solve the problems.
Evolution seen by satellite
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