The drying up of the Aral Sea is one of the greatest environmental disasters in history. Between 1954 and 1960, the government of the former Soviet Union ordered the construction of a 500 km-long canal that would take a third of the water from the Amu Darya River for an immense area of irrigated land in order to grow cotton in the region.
The increasing need for water, due to bad transport management and a lack of foresight and efficiency in land irrigation, meant that more water had to be diverted from rivers flowing into the Aral Sea. As a result, in the eighties, the water reaching the port was as little as 10% of the amount in 1960, and the Aral Sea began to dry up. Consequently, the Aral Sea currently occupies half of its original surface area and its volume has decreased by a quarter, 95% of the nearby reservoirs and wetlands have become deserts and more than 50 lakes from deltas with a surface area of 60,000 hectares have dried up.
Aral, The Lost Sea | Trailer
Aral, The Lost Sea
Spain | 2011
Director: Isabel Coixet
Production: We Are Water Foundation