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The revival attempt is in progress

Since one hour, the Jeep moves over the bottom of the lake. Now, he thinks, time for a walk on that water, Sand without end, the desert is without horizon. Trails there are here, just shrubs and a dusty reeds. As a result, the Wind pulling, he rushes at the bottom of the Aral sea. A little water is still left. But in the meantime, one would have to drive another two hours through the desert. Driver Arnold Tenten brings tourists up to the last bit of the lake. Want to see him before he's gone.

The Aral sea moved once by two countries, Kazakhstan in the North and Uzbekistan in the South. Arnold Tenten goes through the Uzbek part. Earlier, the Aral sea was the fourth largest lake in the world. Today, a tenth of which is not time left. The desert was the place of the lake is saltier than an ocean. No insect buzzing, no bird chirps, no shadow falls. Only sometimes the driver Tenten sees a jumping mouse or a Fox. And, of course, the derricks of the Oil companies that are digging for natural gas.

It's the people that have made the lake by mismanagement to the desert were. The has already its own name: Aralkum. He is one of the largest environmental disasters of the last century. Because it is difficult to invert, try the people in Uzbekistan now, to live with their consequences.

The water that is left has been divided into two smaller lakes. Roughly, one in each country. From the Northern Kazakhstan good news came last: The Kazakhs have built 15 years ago, a new stable dam. You have separated the Northern part of the lake from the South. Your Teilsee has been running since then to the full, the fish come back, which is a reason for joy. However, the Uzbeks in the South were not excited about it. They have since been cut off from water from Kazakhstan. Much of it would evaporate probably already in the desert. The bigger Problem for the government of Uzbekistan is that the Kazakhs will stand now as the Saviour of the Aral sea. And the Uzbeks continue to be as Water-wasters.

It remains to be a ship graveyard

The Uzbek President, therefore, has big plans myself. He wants to save water, the desert plant, own build dams. The great lake to bring back, because no one dares in Uzbekistan to think. Today, it comes to manage the shortage and to make life without the lake bearable.

Mujnak is known for its ship cemetery. Photo:

The driver starts the car again. He's not going to the water, he goes back to Mujnak, where the port was. Today, he is located about 150 kilometers away from the water. Mujnak is known for the rusty ships at the bottom in the Marina on Dry land, a boat cemetery as a visitor attraction. People pushing wheelbarrows, in buckets, others bear canister. Every evening at seven fresh water out of the lines, for a couple of hours. In Mujnak itself is about 15'000 inhabitants. Low white houses behind high, white line fences the way. The President has to leave the line until 2017 to build, you will have to bring drinking water from the 101 kilometers away in Kungrad. Before, there was in Mujnak only salty water. Here they are now all Fans of the President.

Even Grass

Alma's Towaschew waiting in front of his door, with his grandson by the Hand. He leads into the house, sits in the rear of the room in front of a low table, light blue shirt, an embroidered cap on his head. "Look at my Aral sea," says the 79-Year-old, the time a captain was. His Aral sea, there are only old photos, he spreads you. They show ships, show him as a sailor.

Everything that people found in the rivers, at the expense of the Aral sea.

Previously, one could drive from Mujnak from the ship to the city of Aral in Kazakhstan. Longer than a day, the trip, took the old captain told. Almost 40 varieties of freshwater fish, more than 30'000 tons in the year of the Aral sea was. Two great rivers brought enough water. The Syr Darya in the North and the Amu Darya river in the South, on the Uzbek side. However, to be plated Soviet times, the planned economy of Uzbekistan cotton fields. For the Aral sea is less and less water was left. Also today, the two major rivers are an important economic factor for the Region. You wind through several Central Asian States, provide you with energy and water. Everything that people found in the rivers, at the expense of the Aral sea.

The Aral sea shrank since the sixties, so fast you could almost watch it. Because he was already quite shallow, nowhere deeper than 69 meters, evaporated on its surface large quantities of water. This loss had to compensate for the rivers. As you have not supplied enough with fresh water, got the lake out of balance. He was salty, the fish died, the birds disappeared. The canned fish factory in Mujnak to be made. The captain was a farmer, and cultivated melons. Then enough water was left for them. Even the Grass has disappeared.

The lake is not coming back

After all, there is a Fund to rescue the Aral sea, Ifas. The five Central Asian countries of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan are officially involved. But the project is more of a discussion group, because the Fund has no Budget. Each government funded its own programs, not everything is coordinated. Vadim Sokolov manages the Fund for Uzbekistan, he is sure that the Aral sea will not in the foreseeable future back.

Because a gigantic quantity of water would be necessary. To fill the Aral sea back, we would not have to bring this huge amount back in the desert. You would also have to compensate for the evaporation of water: in addition, up to 50 cubic kilometres per year, which corresponds to almost the volume of lake Constance. Earlier, under Josef Stalin, was the Plan of the Siberian rivers to the Aral sea to be diverted. Size is a mad project that was never implemented. Fund Manager Sokolow expects the rivers, he has, with the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya, To the lake to replenish, is not likely to touch both 30 to 40 years. For the countries that depend on the rivers, a crazy thought.

For the new lake system they needed, several dams, a total of 120 kilometres in length and 350 million US dollars in tax. to save

The small lakes in the river Delta, appears feasible. Dams to catch the water before it flows into the desert. The channels distribute it to a network of several lakes. "In Kazakhstan, it was easier to solve the Problem," says Sokolow. There are 13 kilometres of embankment were sufficient to fill a single large lake, the Northern Aral sea. In Uzbekistan but the hope of the people in nine small lakes and Reservoirs is located.

For the new lake system they needed, however, several dams, a total of 120 kilometres in length and 350 million US dollars in tax. So far, however, told Sokolow, there were only a Million a year, everything went very slowly. And not just the money would have to be more reliable flow. More than five cubic kilometers of water in the year, should arrive in the Delta, so fish survive in the lakes. But most of the time less and less. Sometimes nothing, sometimes too much.

In 2017, for example, the water flowed, it flowed and flowed. The dams were finished, so it was on its way – in the direction of the desert. Temporarily, a third, large-scale part of the lake was there. But this has made the matter only worse: In the soil, which is there a quarter of salt, could not move in the water. Instead, it moved even more salt to the surface before it is constant, then unused Verdun.

Sokolov took advantage of the mishap, in order to make pressure. It should now go faster with the dams: In this year, the Fund Manager has received $ 50 million. In addition, a state-owned construction company is helping him now – by 2025, everything will be finished. Then no water can flow more in the direction of Aralkum. Just like Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan cut off the desert, which formerly belonged to the Aral sea, from the water. That's it for the old lake.

Created: 01.12.2019, 22:49 PM

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