Ural yo͝or´əl, Rus. o͞oräl´ [key], river, c.1,580 mi (2,540 km) long, rising in the S Urals, flowing through Russia and Kazakhstan. Part of the traditional boundary between Europe and Asia, the Ural flows S past Magnitogorsk and Orenburg, then through NW Kazakhstan, past Oral, and into the Caspian Sea at Atyrau. At Magnitogorsk there is a water reservoir which supplies the area's metallurgical industry. The Ural River is a transport route to the north for oil, fish, and lumber; grain and cattle are generally shipped south on the river. It is a source of water supply for the towns and agricultural areas in the steppe area in W Kazakhstan, but overuse of the water has reduced the river's flow along its lower course, and pollution has reduced water quality.
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