When the level of a saline lake drops, the lake becomes more saline, and may dry up entirely, causing the collapse of fisheries, the disappearance of animals whose habitat has been destroyed, higher salinity of land bordering the lake as dried salt blows onto it, unemployment and severe health problems. The climate may also become more extreme. Usually the drop in lake level is due to diverting for crop irrigation, domestic use and flood prevention too much of the water from freshwater streams that feed the lake.
A salt lake contains more than 3 grams of salt per litre of water. Since 1960, the levels of many of the world's major salt lakes have fallen drastically: the Aral Sea has fallen 15 metres, Quinghai Hu (China) 10 metres, the Dead Sea 8 metres, and Lake Corangamite (Australia) 3 metres. The 44,000 tonne fishery in the Aral Sea has collapsed, and groundwaters have been polluted by agricultural pesticides.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.