Golden Age Lake

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Golden Age Lake known as Altyn Asyr locally,[1] or Karakum lake, is the name of a man made lake under construction in the Karashor depression in the Karakum Desert of Turkmenistan.

Upon completion, the lake will span 770 square miles (2,000 km2) with a maximum depth of 230 feet (70 m), and hold more than 130 cubic kilometers (4600 billion cubic feet) of water. Filling the lake could take 15 years and cost up to $4.5 billion.[2] According to government plans, it is intended to be filled by a 2,650-kilometer (1,650 mi) network of tributary canals. The 432 kilometre long Dashoguz Collector follows for about half its length the bed of the ancient Uzboy River. The Great Turkmen Collector starts in the Lebap Province and is 720 kilometre long.[3] They are used for pumping run-off water from irrigated cotton fields[4] towards the lake.

Benefits and criticisms[edit]

According to the Turkmen government, the Golden Age Lake will promote the conservation and sensible use of water resources, in addition to preventing damage to archaeological sites near agricultural fields.[2] Further, it is believed the lake will attract migratory birds, stimulate biodiversity and make flowers and plants bloom in a country that is 80% desert.[5]

However critics point out that much of the water pumped into the searing desert will evaporate, adding that it is likely to be contaminated with toxic pesticides and fertilisers.[5] It is also feared that Turkmenistan may seek to siphon water from the Amu Darya river, which runs along the country's northern border with Uzbekistan. That could trigger a dispute between the two countries and inflict further damage of the environment.[2]


Coordinates: 40°44′N 56°47′E / 40.733°N 56.783°E / 40.733; 56.783