Severe Drought Hits Czech Republic as Rivers Run Dry, But Water Supply Remains Stable

The Czech Republic is currently grappling with a serious drought as its once-flowing rivers have significantly dried up, exposing their shallow beds. As of July, the current flows are hovering between 15 to 45 percent of the long-term average, with most watersheds experiencing levels well below normal. However, despite the large-scale drought, there is no imminent threat of water shortage for households and industries.

According to Marek Výborný, the Czech Minister of Agriculture, water managers have been forced to take measures to conserve water resources. After a meeting with directors of companies overseeing the Vltava, Morava, Ohře, Odry, and Labe river basins, 52 decisions were issued to restrict water consumption, primarily affecting smaller streams. This number reflects an increase from last year when there were 39 such bans in place. Despite the challenging conditions, the quality of the available water remains relatively good.

For recreational purposes, the water quality is still acceptable, with only a few exceptions, as stated by Minister Výborný. In an effort to alleviate the impact of the drought, water managers have managed to increase the flow of streams across the country by an additional 154 million cubic meters.

However, the situation is particularly dire for paddlers, as low water levels render some rivers unnavigable. For instance, the renowned Sázava River is currently not navigable between Týnec nad Sázavou and Pikovice due to the acute water scarcity. Similarly, the stretch between Stvořidly and Zruč nad Sázavou is also unnavigable. Nevertheless, paddlers can still find some enjoyment on the middle course, although the water levels are notably lower than usual, as reported by the Bisport tourist center.

Despite the challenges posed by the drought, the Czech Republic’s water supply for drinking water and industrial purposes remains stable. General director Petr Kubala of the Vltava River basin reassured the public that all water reservoirs are filled up to 95 percent capacity. The country’s largest reservoir, Želivka, which supplies water to around 1.5 million people, is operating at a 94 percent capacity. Additionally, efforts to supplement the Vltava cascade with a 33 million cubic meter flow from July 1 to July 26 have been implemented, approximating the scenario if the entire Rimov water reservoir were emptied.

As the drought continues to affect the region, water management authorities and local communities must remain vigilant in their conservation efforts to mitigate the impacts on ecosystems, agriculture, and overall water resources. Public awareness and responsible water usage will play a crucial role in overcoming this challenging environmental situation.

Article by Prague Forum

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