Pat Watson: Environmental Issue 11/9

Institute for War and Peace Reporting: Armenia’s Breadbasket Risks Desertification
This article describes the recent ecological happenings in the Ararat valley in Armenia. This area is (or was) extremely fertile and a vital area of food production for the entire country. Its fertility is mainly due to the large amount of underground fresh water available in the basin. For years farmers have been able to take advantage of this natural resource without interfering with its natural self recovery rate. Lately however there has been a sharp increase in fish farms in the area which dig wells and pull out excessive amounts of water in order to farm salmon. This industry has a lot of money tied to it but without any sort of control or regulation of these businesses and their tapping they have started to really deplete the underground water. This is causing all sorts of havoc. Local farmers need to dig deeper wells each year or stop farming because of the expense of deeper wells and subsequent pumps. Desertification is taking place as the area is now deemed semi-arid. Temperatures are on the rise, soil moisture is on the decrease as with average humidity and the larger region is suffering from food shortages.
This article was exceptionally well written and clearly intended for a larger, broader audience instead of just ecologists or scientists. That being said the facts were clearly laid out and well explained using laymen terms. The fish farming is so obviously effecting the area in such a negative way I am surprised that more efforts have not been made to reverse this.
I think it is very interesting that there has been so little done to change or attempt to reverse this obvious problem. While some wells have been sealed there is still no regulations on digging wells or consistency in sealing them. This article made me realize the longer list of possible contributors to desertification and how badly we need environmental awareness and industrial regulations.

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