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Small Ara Sea (North Aral)

Journey to the North Aral Sea

Organization of travel in the Kyzylorda region

The North Aral Sea, also referred to as the Small Aral Sea, is a lake formed from the Aral Sea in Asia, which, as a result of the drying up of the main lake, caused by the misuse of water from the rivers that feed it, eventually separated from it in 1987. Although an artificial canal was built connecting it to a large body of water, communication was lost as early as 1999 due to an increasingly steep drop in water. The Northern Aral Sea remains stable and has even increased over the years thanks to the construction of the dam. In contrast, the South Aral Sea has been abandoned for economic reasons and will eventually dry up completely.

How to get there, visit

The Small Aral Sea is located in the Kyzylorda region on the border of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
GPS coordinates: 46°30′N 60°42′E


After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the government of Kazakhstan decided to restore the northern part of the sea. Currently, work is underway to preserve the North Aral Sea, including the construction of dams that ensure the preservation of a constant influx of fresh water. On the Small Aral there are bays Shevchenko, Saryshyganak, Butakov. In the northwestern part of the sea, in the north of Shubartarauz, there are the Koktyrnak peninsulas. The shore of Kokarala is sandy, the absolute height in the central part is 161 m. The level of the dam is 40 m. The volume of water in the central part of the dam and in Shevchenko Bay will reach 21 km3, and there will be no water at all in the Butakov and Saryshyganak bays. Thus, the water level in the Small Aral Sea is planned to be raised to 42 m. Then the water volume will reach 27 m3. For full-fledged ecological and economic work, the volume of water in the Small Aral Sea should be at least 34 km3. In the future, it is planned to build the second and third stages of the Kokaral dam.

In October 2003, the government of Kazakhstan unveiled a plan to build a cement dam, the Kokaral Dam, to separate the two halves of the Aral Sea so that the water level in that section of the original sea could be raised and salinity reduced. In 2003, it was 30 m (98 ft) deep and 2,550 km2.2 in area. Part of this effort was completed in 2005; by 2008, sea depth had increased by 12 m (39 ft) from 2003 levels.

Small Aral Sea


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