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Berg Strait on Aral Sea.

Tourism on Aral Sea in Kazakhstan.

“Everything in excess is opposed to nature” 


Popular destinations on Aral Sea Kazakhstan.

Berg Strait - the strait in the Aral Sea which was earlier separating the island Kokaral from the land from East side. Is opposite to the delta of the Syr Darya. Width of the passage of Berg fluctuates from 100 to 300 meters.
The maximum depth made 13 meters. Depending on a season of year and full-water content of the Syr Darya it is stretched up to the Big Aral Sea. Administratively treats the Aral district of the Kyzylorda region of Kazakhstan.
In the early eighties drying of the Aral Sea led to the fact that the strait strongly shoaled. For navigation in the strait were carried out deepening of a bottom. At further falling of water level in the Aral Sea navigation stopped, and the waterway was filled with sand and silt.
When Berg strait finally dried up, at the bottom the remains of this channel represented small remote from each other reservoirs with a general extent about 4 kilometers. Since 1989 Berg strait separates a northern part of the Aral Sea from southern.
In the early nineties, after the collapse of the USSR, economic use of waters of the Syr Darya decreased, and Berg strait revived again. As a result of washing away soil from a bottom which filled the former ship canal the course after which water flowed from the Small Aral Sea in Big was created.
For the end of spring of 1992 the strait reached 2 meters in depth, 100 m in width and about 5 km in length. The delta about four channels was in the place of its confluence with the Southern sea. In May, 1992 from the Small Aral Sea in Big on this channel in a second 100 cubic meters of water arrived on average.
Danger of further deepening of the channel and washout of a natural barrier on the place of the strait of Berg resulted, it would lead to further falling of level of the North Aral Sea. Besides, the channel could reach the mouth of the Syr Darya therefore it could turn from the Small Aral Sea in Big.
It would lead to sharp reduction of the area of the North Sea, up to its almost full drying. In order to avoid such consequences, in August, 1992 Berg strait was blocked a low earth dam. After construction of a dam the level of Small Aral Sea began to increase quickly, in 9 months increased more than by 1 meter.
Salinity of water ceased to increase, gradual decrease in a mineralization of water of a northern reservoir began after a while. The dam prevented threat of turn of the mouth of the Syr Darya to the Big Aral Sea. To promote increase to revival of the strait Saryshyganak, and also prevented office of the gulfs Butakova and Shevchenko.
On the other hand, sharp falling of level of the Big Aral Sea began. According to estimates, the average annual drain from the North on the South during the period from 1990 to 2004 could average about 3,6 kilometers cubic (about 25% of all drain of the Southern sea).
The dam in Berg strait  was fragile, and lack of constructions increased its unreliability. It often collapsed during spring floods, but every time was restored. The dam allowed to keep Small Aral Sea and to begin restoration of its biodiversity.
However with increase in water level more than on 3 meters on April 20, 1999 the dam was destroyed (to 43,5 m) by a storm. After this incident the old hydraulic engineering construction was not restored any more.
The top management of Kazakhstan made the decision on construction in Berg strait of a new capital dam. Funds for an action were allocated by the World Bank and partially the government of Kazakhstan. It was initially planned to raise the level of the Small Aral Sea to 47 meters.
This option assumed construction of the additional hydraulic engineering construction in the dried-up strait Auzy-Kokaral for transfer of water to the Western Aral Sea. In a final version of the project for a number of reasons (mostly financial character) it was decided to construct a dam only in Berg strait which could provide a raising of level of the Northern Aral Sea only to 42 - 43 m.
In 2004 the Russian company "Zarubezhvodstroy" began construction of a dam in Berg strait. Construction of a dam came to the end with fall of 2005. A dam, received Kokaral name, it is designed in full accordance with technical requirements to such hydraulic engineering constructions.
The dam can pass water, necessary for dumping of surplus of water and maintenance of level of Small Aral Sea on a mark, safe for the safety. In the spring of 2006 the reservoir reached the planned level. Dumping of water in Southern comes from the North Sea generally in the spring and at the beginning of summer, during floods.
When opening a spillway Berg strait is considerably extended, sometimes even reaching East Aral Sea.

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Alexander Petrov.