Monday, October 26, 2009

Aral Sea Restoration

This weekend's AP story on restoration of the Aral Sea in the former Soviet Union is interesting.

The Aral Sea was once the world's fourth-largest body of fresh water, covering an area the size of Ireland. But then the nations around it became part of the Soviet Union. With their passion for planned economics and giant, nature-reversing projects, the communists diverted the rivers that fed the inland sea and used them to irrigate vast cotton fields. ...

The payoff was a bonanza of cotton to supply the Soviet market as well as Cuba and the communist countries of Europe. The fishermen paid the price.

At times, I have compared the Valley's vast irrigation projects to soviet-style central planning. Can we learn from Kazakhstan?

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