A Martyr for the Conservation of Hydrological Resources

By Sofía Cortés Tascón, Juanita Rivera Mera, María Alejandra Santana Jiménez, Mariana Guevara Hernández, Nicolás Vásquez Guzmán, Juan Sebastián Giraldo Rodríguez, Santiago Torres Paz

Editor’s note: This poster is one of three selected from projects done by senior students at St. George’s School in Bogotá, Colombia.

The desiccation of the Aral Sea is considered one of the greatest episodes of desertification of freshwater resources. This example serves scientists to illustrate, understand and develop thorough mitigation plans that could be advantageous when reacting to a similar environmental catastrophe as a consequence of global warming or the misdirection of hydrological resources.

Once the fourth largest lake in the world, the Aral Sea is located on the border between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. This important water reservoir has been rendered a martyr, now conspicuous for constituting one of the biggest environmental disasters of modern times (Espores, 2013), enduring a desiccation of more than 90 percent of its volume. The desertification of the Aral Sea has been catalogued by the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) as the only ecosystem totally collapsed on the “Red List” of places at high risk of disappearing.

The study of this event, its causes, current state and what experts foreshadow as plausible scenarios, might emerge as crucial for the development of conservation and adaptation environmental policies for other water reservoirs of similar endangerment, including Lake Urmia in Iran; lakes Cachuma, Peigneur and Waiau in the United States; and others.

This project aims to disseminate clear knowledge of the problems evident in the Aral Sea to serve as an illustration of the conceivable environmental and socioeconomic problems that can result from climate change and the misdirection of hydrological resources around the world. This project employs satellite images to analyze the problem and is supported by a theoretical framework of authors who have brought to fruition meticulous studies on the subject by providing an account of the event from 1964 to 2014.

The project focuses on five main areas: the historical analysis of the problem, its impact on the human population, the environmental repercussions stemming from the ecosystem collapse, the projections of experts on the issue, and solutions that have been developed or planned to be implemented in the short and long term.

EZ1 Poster (11A - 1) v2-AD
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