Aral
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The catastrophe of the Aral Sea is regarded as the greatest environmental disaster of all times. It is undoubtedly for that reason that one told worldwide about it whereas nobody has the least idea of the threats of the same order weighing on all the bodies of water of the Central Asia to consider only this area. For much others, in Europe in particular, it is already too late.

The disaster of Aral is at the origin of several reflections: Afterwards, one told about CEP (Creeping Environmental Problem). It was very easy to create a neologism to dissimulate his incompetence or in any case his impotence to solve a too hard problem. But it is hypocritical to regard the drying up of the Aral Sea as creeping. Its possibility was foreseen at the very beginning of the setting of irrigated culture in Karakalpakstan at the early XXth century as an article of the Academy of Science of Moscow published in 1909 proves it! The problem had been announced in Moscow from the first symptoms in the early Sixties. The photographs taken by the satellites showed the evolution of the shrinking of Aral Sea from its beginning. Several scientists had worried about it as well in the East as in the West. But during thirty years, nobody did anything. And it is to be feared that everybody continues to do nothing. Or nothing useful. Moscow discusses. Occident cries. The concerned countries decide to not decide. And Karakalpaks die.

To have good conscience to continue to undertake nothing expensive, much have the infernal impudence to claim that in any case, it is too late and that any tentative to bring back the Aral Sea to its level of the end of the Fifties would be useless. According to them, the species which are disappeared are definitively disappeared and will not come back no matter what one does. On the one hand, it is false since, in the past, the Aral Sea had already been drained and the life returned there with the richness that we knew. On the other hand, even if some endemic species will not reappear, it is nevertheless very important to cover again with water what was the sea-bed of Aral in order to stop the polluted sandstorms.

Some say that the problem should be relativized. Bruges was a seaport and, because of the stranding of the North Sea, it was found fifteen kilometers away from the coast. That did not kill the Bruggelings and did not ruin the region. That remains to be proven. The disaster of Aral is only the visible part of an much more important iceberg. With term, the other bodies of water will undergo the same fate. In Kazakhstan, the evolution of the Lake Balkhash is already visible. But, much more serious, in fact Central Asia is likely to experience soon a shortage of drinking water.

 

The causes are multiple :

1. The supply is insufficient and will still decrease when the Chineses will increase the power
   of their hydroelectric plant on the Ili. river.
2. The state of the water pipelines is scandalous. In some cities, ninety percents of water leaves by leaks.
3. The techniques of irrigation are obsolete.
4. The hydraulic network developed by the Soviets is too complex to be managed effectively,
   in particular concerning reservoirs of regulation. This has been just highlighted recently with the
   floods of February 2004 in the south of Kazakhstan.
5. Collaboration between the concerned countries is insufficient.
6. The climate changes. The average temperature and the speed of the wind increase partly
    because of the disappearance of the Aral Sea.

It is important to note that the change of climate finds only one small part of its causes in the human activities. A cycle of eleven years and another of an order of ten thousand years have their origin in the solar activity. A longer cycle, from twenty to one hundred thousand years is caused by orbital phenomena: variation of the eccentricity of the orbit of the Earth, modification of the shaft angle of rotation of the Earth compared to the ecliptic and precession.

Solutions :

1. To convince the Chineses to give up their project (not very realistic)
2. To renew, simplify and maintain the hydraulic network.
3. To use more modern irrigation techniques.
4. To improve collaboration between the countries of Central Asia with regard to the management of the water.
5. To build the Ob Channel.


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