How the Aral Sea got its Flow Back

ocean shore

Perhaps one of the best examples of human destruction of water resources the Aral Sea, and now it’s becoming an example of how humans can repair the damage we’ve done to our natural bodies of water. We’ve looked a the sea’s restoration before since it’s such a fascinating example. The recovery of the sea from over-consumption of and diversion of water still has a long way to go but we’re seeing progress already and the natural recovery of the northern part of the Aral sea is happening faster than predicted. The next step in the very long process to recover the full sea requires not physical changes but policy changes from its coastal nations.

The return of the North Aral Sea has fuelled a revival of the fishing industry in Aralsk. In 2006, the annual fish catch totaled 1,360 tons, which comprised a majority of flounder – a saltwater species that the Kazakhs dislike. By 2016, the Aralsk Fish Inspection Unit recorded 7,106 tons of fish as freshwater species have returned, including pike-perch – which bring in a hefty price for local fishermen – breams, asp, and catfish.

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The Aral Sea Rises Again

The Aral Sea was once one of the largest lakes in the world, but today all that remains is just two small lakes. Insanely bad environmental practices killed the lake which has had negative impacts on nature (obviously) and on humans who used to live on the shore. Since the sea was declared dead years ago there have been attempts to revive the once-great lake, and it turns out these efforts are working.

The Aral Sea was once the world’s fourth-largest inland body of water, but has been for ever altered by the Soviet era irrigation policies to reclaim the desert for cotton farming by rerouting the rivers the Amu Darya and Syr Darya.

Two separate lakes – the North and South Arals – are all that’s left, while most of its former seabed has been reclaimed by the sand.

But efforts to restore the lake have yielded some results recently. Since the completion of the Kokaral dam in 2005, financed by the World Bank, and the completion of hydropower stations, the winds of change have reached Tastubek.

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