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White Gold and Blue Water

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Presentation on theme: "White Gold and Blue Water"— Presentation transcript:

1 White Gold and Blue Water
The Drying of the Aral Sea

2 Objectives Identify ways in which humans modify the environment
Identify problems in centrally-planned economies Describe how climate, economy and resources are related

3 What is it? Where did it come from?

4 Cotton – Environmental Requirements
Cotton seeds will not germinate if the soil temperature is below 60°F It takes 4 to 5 months from planting to harvest (depends on the variety) Cotton will not pollinate when it is wet (cannot be rainy while flowering) Daytime temperatures during the growing season should be in the 90s Cotton bolls will rot if they are wet (cannot be rainy at harvest time) The cotton plant requires 14” to 30” of water over the growing season

5 Climate Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have climates that are similar to El Paso’s: they are mostly deserts with hot summers and mild winters. Their summers (the growing season for cotton) are dry, so they are good places to grow cotton. In 1988, Uzbekistan was the world’s largest exporter of cotton.

6 Cotton – Economy (Math Ahead)
On the open market, cotton currently sells for about 87¢ per pound Depending on the variety and local conditions, an acre of cotton produces a bit less than 1000 pounds of cotton – we’ll use 1000 for a round number .87 * 1000 = $ per acre per harvest (usually one per year) 10 acres will produce about $8700 (income, not profit) Main idea: cotton can be a very profitable crop

7 The Aral Sea (Science Ahead)
Geologically, the Aral Sea is similar to the Great Salt Lake in Utah or the Dead Sea in Israel – it is a salt lake The lake has two major rivers flowing into it (the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya), but has no outflow Fresh water (with dissolved minerals and other stuff) flows in, but water only leaves the lake through evaporation, which leaves the minerals behind Over time, the mineral (salt) concentration in the water increases, producing a salt lake

8 Great Plan for the Transformation of Nature
In 1948, Joseph Stalin ordered the creation of shelterbelts, similar to what had been done on the northern Great Plains in the 1930s. The plan was to create irrigation systems across the steppes of central Asia which would allow agriculture in these mostly desert areas About 30,000 miles of irrigation canals were constructed in the region The irrigation systems used water diverted from the Amu Darya (which flows into the southern end of the Aral Sea) and from the Syr Darya (which flows into the northern end of the Aral Sea)



11 Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan
The area around the Amu River is normally desert, so farmers must get most of the water for their fields through irrigation Irrigation diverts water from rivers, usually through canals (kind of like what we do here in El Paso) More farms requires more water to be diverted More water sent to farms means less water reaches the Aral Sea

12 The Obvious Effect Video at Vimeo:


14 The Not-So-Obvious Effects
What happened to the fishermen who made their living on the Aral Sea? What happened to the wildlife that lived in the area around the Aral Sea? What happened to the people who depended on the wildlife around the Aral Sea? What happened to the minerals and stuff that were in the waters of the Aral Sea?

15 Assignment Divide a sheet of notebook paper into three sections
In the first section, describe the problem of the Aral Sea, including its causes In the second section, describe the effects of the problem (economic, geographic and human) In the third section, propose three potential solutions to the problem After the three sections are done, you can color and decorate it

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