While some species may quickly die off, others thrive in their new surroundings, often to the point of posing a threat to the existing ecological order. Such is the case with Mnemiopsis leidyi, a fist-sized jellyfish that has spent the past decade menacing the waters of the Caspian Sea.
The call comes in a country that is 80 percent desert. Decades of intensive cotton farming have drained freshwater reserves and caused the salinization of the Amudarya River, which provided drinking water for Dashoguz Province.
Water has always been associated with power in the Central Asia. In traditional Turkmen society, local chieftains made their homes at the water source. Niyazov has effectively followed this tradition. Fountains are common in the capital, Ashgabat, flowing down the front of the entrance to the president's palace and cascading over golden statues of his likeness.
Since the beginning of October, 235 cases have been officially confirmed, medical authorities report. An additional 530 hospitalized patients are suspected of having the disease, and the number of unofficial cases is thought to be several times greater. According to Professor Khamdam Rafiev, chief of epidemiology at the State Medical University, the city's hospitals are full.
The first public hearing on the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline convened in Turkey in late August. Subsequent hearings occurred in Azerbaijan and Georgia this month, the last of which took place in Tbilisi on September 11.
In the short term, the phenomenon may help increase the world's supplies of fresh water. But in the long run, the shrinking of the glaciers will mean a significant decline in fresh-water supplies from ice melt, leaving river levels entirely dependent on rainfall.
The forum, held August 30-September 1 in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe, brought together roughly 500 delegates from 50 countries, most of which are confronting serious water shortages and related problems. The forum provided for an exchange of ideas on water-related issues, but took no substantive action.
Over the past few years, Kazakhstani non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that concentrate on environmental issues have wielded growing influence over government policy. That influence was on display at a conference held in Almaty in early June that focused on developing new "green" legislation.
No hearing date has been set by the Georgian court that will handle Green Alternative's appeal. The environment group, which filed its appeal in May, asserts the pipeline endangers the ecologically fragile area of Borjomi, which is home to mineral water springs. According to current plans, a 20-kilometer segment of the pipeline would go through Borjomi.