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September 03, 2005
The Aral Sea of Russia is a large inland sea. Already, the Amudarya and Syrdarya, which once had combined flows greater than that of the Nile, have been largely emptied by massive irrigation projects to grow the cotton. As the rivers died, so has the Aral
Sea into which they drain. It has lost three-quarters of its water since 1960, leaving former ports up to 150 kilometres from the receding shoreline, and a salty wilderness where the sea used to be. Russian scientists are reviving an old Soviet plan to divert
some of Siberia's mightiest rivers to the parched former Soviet republics of central Asia.
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