“The Aral Sea is going, gone. Once the world’s fourth largest inland body of water, the Aral has shriveled to half its former area and a third of its volume. As for the region’s drinking water, even the local vodka has a salty tang.”99 The Aral is the victim of the former Soviet Union’s central planners, who decreed that the area would be the nation’s main source of cotton. To achieve that goal, intense irrigation was required, with the result that only a trickle of fresh water was left to feed the Aral. Refilling the Aral would require tremendous dislocations in the agriculture of the vast region. If you were a member of a commission charged with developing a plan for the future of the Aral Sea, what issues would you cover?
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