Minimize Aral Sea

Aral Sea

23 March 2020

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World Water Day - Water and Climate Change

World Water Day is held each year on 22 March and focuses on the freshwater importance. It celebrates water's availability and raises awareness for the 2.2 billion people that are living without proper access to clean water. Further, World Water Day focuses on the action needed to tackle the global water crisis and the urgent need to provide water and sanitation for all by 2030.

An example of very limited freshwater abundance is the Aral Sea, located between Kazakhstan in the north and Uzbekistan in the south. It once was the world's fourth largest lake, with an area of 67,300 km². However, the lake has dramatically shrunk since the 1950s as a result of diverting the supplying rivers for former Soviet cotton irrigation projects.

Despite efforts to restore the water levels by building the Kok-Aral Dam in 2005, the Proba-V 100 m images of 12 September 2014 (left panel) and 15 September 2019 (right panel) show that no significant restoring has been achieved, and a further decrease in water in the lake's northern area.

Aral sea

© ESA-BELSPO 2020, produced by VITO
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