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Aral Sea

water lake darya

Aral Sea, inland sea or saltwater lake covering 24,904 sq mi (64,501 sq km) in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. It is the fourth largest lake in the world and is fed by the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers. The sea is commercially important for its bass, carp, perch, and sturgeon. In the last 30 years, the irrigation needed for the extensive cultivation of cotton, has led to a considerable reduction of the water supply. This, together with pollution resulted in an environmental disaster which also threatened public health in the surrounding areas. In 1997, the Worldbank granted a loan for the construction of water pipes and water treatment plants.

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