Central Asia is the cluster of countries located in the basin of the "Great Aral Sea". It originates from the ancient civilizations of the IV-III millennium B.C. known as “Ariana” and is an important geopolitical centre today, where the USA, Russia, China, EU, Iran and India participate in the regional water game. The Aral Sea Basin has always been a subject of interest to outside powers as a target of travel or political blame. At the same time it was a source of prosperity and a place of work, love, history and strong cultural traditions for almost 100 million people.
At present the Aral Sea Basin is shared by independent states with different interests but at the same time in need of close collaboration for their survival. Much has been written about this region but few writers have discovered the deeper roots of the historical transformations that have caused the present situation of environmental degradation. The extremely arid character of the region is a cause of very sensitive natural and social conditions; a very fragile balance that is easily disturbed by any important impact from the outside or innovations from the inside. Only a thorough analysis of both the positive ambitions of the region and their possible negative consequences can provide the necessary understanding of why important development initiatives of the recent past have always produced the negative consequences as they did.
1. Introduction 2. The Cost of Water is Life 3. Russian Colonization and the Soviet Era in Central Asia 4. Water for Independent States 5. Water and the Future for Central Asia