Archive for February 17th, 2011

Thursday, February 17th, 2011 | Author:

In class, we discussed a number of proposed solutions (by the UN and World Bank) to help stabilize the Aral Sea region.

These included: moving the region away from agriculture, moving the region into oil and gas drilling, improving canals, charging for water use, using genetically engineered crops, and piping in water from the Caspian Sea/redirecting other rivers into the Aral Sea.

Possibly the most logical solution would be to pipe in water from the Caspian Sea and other rivers. However, this would just bring about ecological disaster to the Caspian Sea and other effected ecosystems. Next, moving the region away from agriculture, seems like it would solve all the problems…the redirected rivers could then flow back into the Aral Sea, right? True…but what about all those farmers? It would take many many years to stop all the farming in the region, and the citizens would lose their jobs. Economic devastation could hit the region during the lull between farming and possibly working in fisheries again. Another solution, charging for water use, will only harm the people living in the Aral Sea region. People have already suffered great economic loss after the Aral Sea receded, and it is doubtful that many could afford to buy the amount of water they would need for themselves, their families, and their crops. Now, moving the region towards oil and gas drilling would probably benefit the U.S. the most (since we’re still addicted to oil), however that will again have disastrous results. Oil and gas drilling would ruin the ecosystem and only cause more problems. The last two solutions, using genetically engineered crops, and improving canals, seem like the best two solutions to me. I know there are many debates about genetically engineered crops (of which I admittedly know little about), but it seems like a plausible solution, at least compared to the other ones. In addition, improving canals and water efficiency would be a beneficial thing to do that way the region would not waste anymore water. However, I’m not sure how much of an impact just improving canals would have on the Aral Sea region.

Whether or not it is clear which solution will work the best, if any, it is indeed clear that the people and animals in the Aral Sea region need help, and need it now.

-Kristen Callahan

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