• Shallowed Baikal raises serious concerns among environmentalists. there 3 cm left to critical point, but environmentalists believe that more water will appear in as a result of snow melting.

  • On the left: satellite image of the Aral Sea in 2000, immediately after its division into northern and southern parts. On the right: what's left of the lake. Black contour of the lake its the trace of its old waterfront

  • That's how the Colorado River delta looks like. Once it entered the Gulf of Mexico, and now it does not have enough water for it. Water is poured into the river artificially in the US and in Mexico trees are planted along the river to stop coastal erosion

  • This bird is one of the victims of pollution of the Great Lakes, Lake Ontario in Canada particularly. The examination showed that it died from the botulizm poison , which got into the water from rotted seaweed. This is the result of water pollution by nutrients - nitrogen and phosphorus

  • And this is a good example. The Sow Mill river in New York has long been imprisoned in the sewer pipes. And finally, it was released to freedom. Now environmentalists will be engaged in the restoration of its ecosystem. Similar projects are being implemented in many cities of the Old and New World because the destruction of the river could lead to disaster

  • Floodplain of the Blue Nile in Ethiopia suffered from another ambitious project. The river bed was moved half a kilometer for the construction of a huge dam. Water supply of nine countries is under threat. Most of all the negative consequences will affect Egypt

  • Unreasonable housekeeping almost destroyed the largest Chinese River Min in Fujian Province. The rapid growth of cities in Sanming and Nanping, as well as the development of agriculture has led to severe erosion of the riverbanks. Authorities allocated funds for the project of restoration of the river shoreline by re-planting trees along the river

  • Indian farmers in the village in mountainous Himalayan province Ladakh found a way to overcome the drought. Recently amount of water in the mountains decreased because of persistent drought. The peasants are building special dams that will retain water in autumn. In winter it turns into a glacier, and in spring it thaws and provides village

  • It is a piece of ice made of liquid fresh water extracted from the ground in the south-east of Greenland. A huge underground lake may give an answer, how climate change is affecting one of the largest glaciers in the world. In recent years, the Greenland ice sheet has been melting with constantly increasing speed

Cry for Help: Main Problems of Planet's Freshwater

In the wake of news about the problems of Lake Baikal, we remembered that the largest fresh water reservoir of the planet is not the only the one which is threatened by an environmental disaster and destruction. Such problems are mainly the result of human actions, direct (development banks, construction of hydraulic structures), or indirect ones (impact on climate change). In February, our digest contains the main reservoirs of the planet, which has already an experience of negative impact of Homo Sapiens.

Eurasia. Perhaps, the most serious situation on our continent takes place at the already mentioned Lake Baikal. Its level has dropped by 40 cm for the first time in 60 years. Over the past week the water level has dropped by 1 cm and now it's 456.03 meters of Pacific height system. There are only three centimeters to get to the state, which is considered critical. If the level gets below the critical value, water shortages will appear in the settlements and water constructions along the shores of the lake. Total scale of environmental effects could not yet be estimated: in spring, when the hydrological regime hopefully bounces back, it will be understood. Environmentalists are greatly concerned about the state of the coastline - for example, the one of the Selenga River delta, which flows into the lake.

Это все, что осталось от некогда крупнейшего озера планеты – Аральского моря

Another suffering pond of Eurasia is the Aral Sea, once the fourth largest lakes in the world. Its story is a lesson for whole world. In the 1960s, Soviet irrigators decided to turn the arid steppes of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan in flowering fields. For this purpose hundreds of kilometers of irrigation channels were built, they took water from the Amudarya and Syrdarya rivers which fed the Aral Sea. As a result, due to lack of supply lake shallowed rapidly. In 2000, it was divided into two parts: the North Aral Sea in Kazakhstan and the South Aral Sea in Uzbekistan. Five years later, the South Aral Sea was divided into an eastern and western parts. And last fall the eastern part completely dried up - the first time in 600 years. In 2005, the World Bank has allocated funds for the restoration project of the Northern Aral Sea. Since the level of water in this part of the lake has increased, its salinity decreased. However, periodic droughts will lead to catastrophic consequences for many years.

North America. The Colorado River, which starts is in the Rockies, and descends through California and Arizona to the Gulf of Mexico is also a monument to thoughtless economic of XX century. It even doesn't reach its delta, and now the confluence of the Caribbean Sea resembles a Martian landscape. The reason is also irrigation and excessive water use by American cities, standing on the bank of the river.

Past mistakes are now corrected with triple diligence here. US authorities are implementing the project of artificial recharge of the river bed using a large network of canals. And Mexican farmers downstream restore the shore of the Colorado River Delta, severely destroyed by erosion. They plant trees and shrubs to keep desert encroachment. And some results are already seen: water has appeared even in the long-parched wells.

Africa. Water problems have been urgent for a long time on the continent. But recent years is has been a real war for water. The warring parties are Ethiopia, which is building a dam on the Blue Nile, and Egypt, which is the downstream and which receives water only from the Nile. Sudan and eight countries, located on the Nile, are on the side of Egypt. Authorities of the African countries have allowed engineers to move the direction of the Blue Nile in the 500 meters to the implement the ambitious project "The Great Ethiopian Renaissance" – that is how dam was called. The length of the dam is 1.7 kilometers, and its construction will end in 2017.

Строительство дамбы в Эфиопии серьезно угрожает национальной безопасности Египта

The population of Ethiopia exults: it is the largest project in the past few decades, which will provide the country with electricity and jobs. But on the contrary Egyptians panicked. Environmental impact of the project is difficult to predict, but if Nile shallows, Egypt has no chance to survive. That is why the country's exclusive right to use three quarters of the Nile water was fixed in the international agreement in 1959. And the construction of the dam, according to the Egyptian authorities, is a direct violation of the treaty.

Photo: Shutterstock, AirPano, NASA, Corbis, National Geographic.  

Силами Disqus