The Aral Sea in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan has been drying up for decades as a result of Soviet-era agricultural irrigation. In 2010, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called the Aral Sea one of the worst environmental disasters in the world.
In China, the massive manipulation of natural water systems helps to serve the county's huge and growing cities, but at the cost of communities and nations downstream.
And in Israel, science has allowed seawater to become drinking water for residents of a very dry country, but Palestinians say they are not sharing in the benefits of desalinization.
MPR News host Kerri Miller spoke with experts about these three global water issues. Rustam Qobil, a reporter with the Uzbek service of the BBC World Service, discussed the Aral Sea crisis. Adam Minter, a reporter with Bloomberg News, explained the controversies over water in China. And Stephen Smith, executive editor of American Radio Works, spoke about desalinization in Israel and the upcoming documentary, "Thirsty Planet."