The Aral Sea is situated in Central Asia, on horseback on two countries, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
This big inner sea withdrew in several separate reservoirs, it was transformed into a salt lake, shrinking regularly during the second half of the 20th century.
Waters of two main rivers feeding the sea, the Amu-Darya in the South, and the Syr-Daria in the northeast, served for irrigating the cotton plantations of the region, what transformed the Aral Sea into a desert called Deserted of the Aralkoum.
Of the Aral Sea there are in 2009 only 2 lakes, one in the South and the other one even smaller in the North. The retreat of the Aral Sea added in some years of successive droughts, left ports in full lands annihilating the business of the fishing.
The bed of the Aral Sea occupies a surface about 65 000 km2, more half of which was transformed into desert. The constant winds and the poor vegetable cover provoke an intense erosion creating small dunes of sand from 5 to 6 km, very fast.
Sandstorms, more and more frequent on the region of the Aral Sea, have grave impacts on the fauna and the flora.
The major stake for the 50 million persons of the region, is to dedicate means to a rational management of the water in all this pond. The big brown spot in the South of the Aral Sea is the delta of the Amu-Darya, the region of extensive agriculture.
Uzbekistan, country of 27 million inhabitants is the second world cotton exporter after the United States today. The cotton is its first economic resource.
The rehabilitation of the Aral Sea began in 2001 with the construction of a work in concrete 13 km long allowing to contain durably waters of Small the Lake Aral. Waters of the part the North of the Aral Sea rose of 12 m to 42 m. Its surface increased by 30 %.
The salinity came down again at an acceptable level for the reintroduction of the disappeared sorts of fishes. The fishing started again and we assist a climatic revival with an effect of dew and the more frequent rains.
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Image: Aral Sea: bottom right of the image, the Kyzyl-Kum desert. Image taken on March 6, 2009 by the MERIS (Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer) camera on the Envisat satellite. source: ESA