The ARAL SEA

The Aral Sea is bordered by the former Soviet Republics of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The Aral sea is supplied by the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers. The Agency for International Development (AID) is responsible for the Aral Sea and its plight.

In the early 1960's the Soviet government decided that the two rivers the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya, should be diverted for irrigation to try and grow rice, melons, cereals, and cotton. The Aral sea supplied fishing industries and water for agriculture to the local inhabitants. The fading of the sea is causing a loss of biodiversity, pollution which causes the salt levels to increase, and it is becoming a public health issue due to agricultural poisons contaminating the water. The water diversion caused the fishing industry to rapidly decrease, as well as the agricultural industry. It also caused a degradation in the soil.

The region surrounding the Aral Sea is a dry, desert environment. The area is very polluted. Due to the depletion of the Aral Sea, there is a sever lack of fresh water. In addition, respiratory diseases, liver, kidney, and eye problems, high child mortality rates, and kidney and heart disease are all prominent. Charging farmers for water use, lessening the amount of detrimental chemicals used, and erecting dams are all viable options to rehabilitate the sea.

Problems with the Mono Lake originally occurred due to Los Angeles' growing population. Water was diverted in order to meet the needs of the citizens. Problems of Mono Lake are similar to the Aral Sea, due to the diversion of water, loss of biodiversity, specifically fish species, and detrimental effects of the environment around the lake and the sea. The Aral Sea's fishing industry is significantly worse than that of the Mono Lake. In addition, the Mono Lake was diverted in order to help the population, whereas the Mono Lake was diverted for irrigation. Mono Lake is more easily recoverable. People living and around the environment containing the Mono Lake are being educated about the environment and how to preserve it. In addition, the California Fish and Game service began restoring the fish population to the lake.

The Colorado River

The Colorado River was heavily influenced by the Salton Sea, as well as the Aral Sea. Like the Salton Sea, the Colorado River was diverted for irrigation purposes. The impact of the Colorado River's diversion is minimal in comparison to the Salton Sea and Aral Sea. The Aral Sea caused the sea to recede and the Salton Sea lead to an increase in salinization. A tributary is a river or stream flowing into a larger river or lake.

The source of the Colorado River is the Gulf of California. The majority of the water is supplied by runoff from mountains, which act as sources for tributaries running into the Colorado River. Because of the Colorado River Compact, which was designated in 1922, the 7 states surrounding the river have control over where the water in the river system goes. A watershed is an area or ridge of land that separates waters flowing to different rivers, basins, and seas. Because of the Colorado River Act, unused water is divided between the upper and lower basins. Various states erect dams and develop aqueducts in order to divert the water for drinking and agriculture. The most controversial conflict between states generally regards the sustainability of endangered species. Conflicts over public and private use are usually settled by the Colorado River Salinity Control Program. Because of the decreasing amount of water, there is less water in Mexico. This is an issue because the United States is remediating the majority of the water. To resolve the issue, the United States would need to limit our water consumption.

The problem is potentially more detrimental than the one in the United States, due to an increase in water demand in Iraq because of their dry land. Diversions of both the Yangtze River and the Colorado River were designed to enhance irrigation; however, the Yangtze River has a substantially higher discharge rate. The Three Gorges Dam was developed to hold back flood water, which was detrimental to biodiversity in the surrounding area. The Three Gorges Dam reduces substantially more biodiversity than the Hoover Dam.