|Dear IAHR Members,
We have been contacted by a TV Researcher from a production company named "Like A Shot Entertainment". They are looking for a hydraulic engineer who could explain how the engineering behind irrigation was in Uzbekistan in 20th Century. The are producing a series on abandoned structures*, one of the episodes they are focusing on is Mo'ynoq Port, Uzbekistan; they are looking at the engineering of irrigation by the U.S.S.R.
Please contact us if you have any suggestion. Other topics they are looking at are Gleno Dam (Italy), Vallo Alpino fortifications (Italy) and the Cable Inglés (Almería, Spain).
Thank you in advance for your collaboration,
Elsa Incio, IAHR
This series takes the viewer on a whirlwind trip around the world to explore some of its most mysterious abandoned structures. Once they were among the most advanced engineering projects ever undertaken, but now they lie ruined and disused. Why? What are the stories behind their rise and fall? How were they built and by whom?
Mo‘ynoq is a city in northern Karakalpakstan in western Uzbekistan. Formerly a sea port, now home to only a few thousand residents at most, Mo‘ynoq's population has been declining precipitously since the 1980s due to the recession of the Aral Sea.
Once a bustling fishing community and Uzbekistan's only port city with tens of thousands of residents, Mo‘ynoq is now dozens of kilometers from the rapidly receding shoreline of the Aral Sea. Fishing had always been part of the economy of the region, and Mo‘ynoq became a center of industrial fishing and canning. However, a 1960s Soviet government diversion of the Amu-Darya and Syr-Darya rivers, sapped the sea of its inflows, leaving the area very susceptible to economic collapse, causing the Aral Sea to severely dry up. The regional Soviet-led agricultural monoculture dominated by cotton production diverted water from the aforementioned tributary rivers of the sea into irrigation, which resulted in severe pollution caused by agricultural chemical runoff, causing the sea to evaporate and leaving the water with extremely high levels of salinity making it very toxic, causing the ecological disaster which is destroying the sea and killing the residents of the towns in its vicinity, including Mo‘ynoq.
Mo‘ynoq's major attractions are the armada of rusting hulks that once made up its fishing fleet during the Soviet era, and a one-room museum devoted to Mo‘ynoq's heritage as a center of the fishing industry. Poisonous dust storms kicked up by strong winds across the dried and polluted seabed give rise to a multitude of chronic and acute illnesses among the few residents who have chosen to remain, most of them ethnic Karakalpaks, and weather unmoderated by the sea now buffets the town with hotter-than-normal summers and colder-than-normal winters.