Measures taken as over 60 percent of Czech Republic hit by extreme drought

Photo: Gerhard Gellinger, Pixabay / CC0

More than half of the Czech Republic has been hit by exceptional or extreme drought and the situation is likely to get even worse within the next few days. According to the project InterSucho, which is mapping the current state of drought in the Czech Republic, some 63 percent of the country’s territory is currently affected, including the whole of Bohemia and northeast Moravia.

Photo: Gerhard Gellinger,  Pixabay / CC0
In view of the current weather forecast, climatologists expect drought levels to culminate this Friday. By then, nearly all of the country will be experiencing exceptional or extreme drought, with water lacking even in the deep layers of the soil. The only exceptions will be the Šumava Mountains in south Bohemia, and the regions of Vysočina, Olomouc, and south Moravia.

The situation should improve slightly in the south of the country with some rain predicted following this Friday. However, most of the country will continue to struggle with significant or extreme drought, says climatologist Miroslav Trnka:

“The water deficit in many parts of the country is so severe that even if it starts raining in the next few days, it won’t really have any significant impact.”

In view of the critical situation, the government on Monday approved an amendment to the current Water Act, seeking to create expert committees that would be authorised to take protective measures at times of extreme droughts.

The committees will be headed by regional governors and will include weather experts and hygiene officers, as well as policemen and firefighters. Environment Minister Richard Brabec says they will be able to promptly react to extreme drought conditions by implementing special measures:

“Until now municipalities could only issue certain regulations, such as limiting the consumption of tap water, but they were not entitled to implement any large-scale measures. The new legislation will authorise them to do so.”

Richard Brabec,  photo: archive of Ministry of Environment
Under the new legislation, the committees will be able to regulate the consumption of surface water not only by individual households but also by companies or agricultural coops. Deputy Agriculture Minister Aleš Kendík outlines more details:

“Based on the data from river basin management, the committee could, for example, decide to decrease the minimum residual flow from a reservoir and use the water to supply households. They will base their decisions on special plans set up to fight drought.”

The prolonged period of dry weather is likely to affect this year’s harvest, especially grains, rape seed and root crops. The biggest losses of over 40 percent are expected in the regions of Litoměřice, Louny, Most, Benešov and Pilsen.

In view of the weather outlook for the next few days, the harvesting of grains has already got underway in some of these regions and is likely to be completed several weeks ahead of schedule.