Photos show drying up of Aral Sea since 2000

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Soviet Union irrigation in the 1960s caused the Aral Sea to dry up. (AccuWeather)

The Aral Sea in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan was once the fourth largest lake in the world, but today the lake has all but dried. Images from NASA show how the lake has rapidly dried since 2000.

"In the 1960s, the Soviet Union undertook a major water diversion project on the arid plains of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan," said NASA. "Although irrigation made the desert bloom, it devastated the Aral Sea."

The irrigation project diverted the Syr Darya River and the Amu Darya River, the Aral Sea's main sources of water.

"By 2001, the southern connection had been severed, and the shallower eastern part retreated rapidly over the next several years," NASA said. "As the Aral Sea has dried up, fisheries and the communities that depended on them collapsed."
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