“EARLY ISLAMIC WRITINGS call the Amu Darya and Syr Darya two of the four rivers of Paradise. Now perceived as being on the extreme fringes of the world, these rivers were once its center. Their water has sustained human life for forty thousand years, providing pastures for nomadic herders, irrigation for farmers, and enabling the development of culture, trade, language, literature, and, in parallel, an enduring succession of wars and imperial conquests over the centuries.
When the Soviet government officially incorporated the region into its empire in 1917, it began transforming the rivers into a web of irrigation canals that brought cotton production to the area on a massive scale. Such large quantities of water were diverted that the Aral Sea, once the world’s fourth largest inland sea, began to disappear, leaving salt and dust storms in its place.”
read more: Orion