The Aral Sea, located between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, was once the fourth largest lake on the planet. Decades of irrigation works diverting water from the two rivers which fed it have left the sea today at 10 percent of the size it once was. Much of what remains is heavily polluted, devoid of fish, and surrounded by a great empty bed of salt which often blows into the surrounding areas, wrecking crops and contaminating drinking water. We might be tempted to write off the disaster as a consequence of the lumbering Soviet bureaucracy, something that could never happen in the States. But as the Plains face consecutive droughts and the Western states continue to burn, all eyes turn to the Great Lakes to fill the growing voids.