As you probably know, the Aral Sea in Central Asia has been drying up for nearly 50 years as a result of massive irrigation projects implemented by the Soviet Union. The Aral Sea lies in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. It has shrunk by well over 50 percent. It is supposed to be fed by the Syr Darya and Amu Darya. The region around the Aral Sea has suffered in many ways as a result.
Uzbekistan, where the Amu Darya "flows" into the Aral, appears to be concerned about the problem, but not enough to do much about it. As a result, most of the Aral Sea may well disappear. Kazakhstan, however, is taking some action.
Kazakhstan has built Dike Kokaral in the Aral Sea just south of where the Syr Darya flows in. The purpose is to keep refill that small part of the Sea and not let the water from the Syr Darya be wasted by evaporation. The dike is designed to allow water to overflow when the North Aral Sea has filled to a satisfactory level. Kazakhstan has also worked to decrease the amount of water taken from the Syr Darya in Kazakhstan.
This project can in no way refill the Aral Sea. Uzbekistan has to do something about the Amu Darya. Some in Uzbekistan are angry about the dike though. Why don't they do something about their end instead of being crossat Kazakhstan?
The dike has been difficult to build. It was washed away and rebuilt several times in the 1990s. The current dike was begun in 2003 and funded in large part by the World Bank. I can't find anything from the last year about it though. The best I could find is that it was still being worked on in late 2004. I'm assuming it's not finished yet.
The trouble here is that the Syr Darya and Amu Darya are the two major rivers in Central Asia. Farming and increased population have stressed the rivers. It is very likely that even without the Soviet irrigation projects the Aral Sea would still be in danger. Water issues will increasingly become major political issues, especially in more arid regions of the world, like the western US, the Middle East, and Central Asia. Potable water is a necessity of life.