In 1918, engineers in the Leninist Russia decided that the Aral Sea was a "nature's error". According to their project, both rivers that fed it had to be diverted and used for irrigation in order for the Soviet Union to grow watermelons, cotton, rice, and cereals. Crappy irrigation canals were built since the 1930s and in the 1960s, the lake started to shrink. In 1968, a Soviet engineer explained that evaporation of the Aral Sea was inevitable.
In the mid 1980s, when I was a kid, our anti-communist teachers didn't care about Soviet lakes but the pro-regime teachers would often sadly suggest that the Aral Sea was surely going do die. We didn't have to memorize its location. Sad.
Well, it turned out that the real nature's error were the communists but their most visible wrongdoings may probably be fixed, after all.
The area of the lake shrunk to 40% and the volume to 20% of the original values and the Aral Sea dropped from the 4th lake to the 8th lake in the world. What do you think happens with salinity if you reduce the volume five-fold? Indeed, it increases almost five-fold, from 10 g/l to about 45 g/l. The concentration of all possible poisons jumps, too. The cancer rate around the lake thus increased ten times, together with tuberculosis. Fisherman and the rest of economy started to die, too.
In 1990, BBC called these changes the world's worst disaster. These were times when BBC had many sane employees.
Freedom plus geo-engineering work wonders
This description of the newest developments comes from Benny Peiser. An $86 million dam project that started in 2001 has already increased the level of the lake from 30 meters to 38 meters on the Northern, Kazakhstan's side and 40% of the water has already returned: see BBC 2007. At 42 meters, the lake may become viable.
Another $126 million loan from the World Bank will fund one more dam that will return water to Aralsk. Chances are that the Aral Sea will be almost what it used to be - except for some of the species that went extinct.
Let me nention that spending $200 million during a decade for something that was called the world's worst disaster in 1990 is pretty absurd in a world that wastes around $3,000 billion per decade on absurd and manifestly futile policies to "fight the climate change". Yes, global warming - I mean the religion - already swallows 15,000 times more than the world's worst catastrophe.
I urge all sane people with some common sense to realize the absurdity of this comparison. I urge all billionaires who read this blog - and there's quite a couple of them - to at least pay Kazakhstan the second dam so that it is no longer a loan but a gift. Richard Branson - yes, I mean exactly you, don't hide - what do you think? What else do you want to do with your $8 billion? Or do you want to give all the money to insane projects of your idiotic friend?
That is the question.