Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Scientists call on politicians to solve water shortage problems

ČTK |
16 July 2018

Prague, July 15 (CTK) - Scientists from the Czech Limnological Society (CLS) point to the insufficient tackling of problems with water and drought in the country in an open letter sent to politicians.

The experts mind that the existing measures do not take the landscape as one whole into consideration, but they are trying to solve just brooks, rivers or forests separately.

CLS chairman Martin Rulik, from the Faculty of Natural Sciences of Palacky University in Olomouc, north Moravia, told CTK that the results were an insufficient care for landscape, forest disintegration, agricultural land degradation and overheating of towns.

"We are deeply concerned about the long-term undesirable development of water management in our country that is completely dependent on precipitations," scientists wrote in their letter.

They point out that the landscape has lost its water retention ability, which is manifested by drought and precipitation. Besides, landscape without water is easily overheated.

"The taken measures are focused on particular elements only, while landscape is interconnected," Rulik said.

He is of the view that the Czech landscape still pays dearly for the changes applied by the Communist regime in agriculture in the 1950s within the collectivisation of farming when, for instance, small brook beds were straightened and and weirs were built on the bigger ones.

The high number of weirs causes the accumulation of sediments and harmful substances as well as changes in organisms, including fish.

On the contrary, smaller rivers and brooks often face the opposite problem. They are regulated and their beds concreted, so water flows fast through them. Though river beds are no longer concreted, there are still measures being planned that may harm water retention.

The open letter is primarily addressed to politicians. However, scientists would also like to warn the public of the problems with water and the state of landscape.

The text was drafted at a limnological conference in late June.

Limnology is a branch dealing with all continental waters.

The CLS has more than 200 members, including experts from universities, research institutes and river management companies.

The Platform for Landscape, a group of scientists coordinated by the Botanical Institute of the Science Academy, also called on politicians to better care for landscape recently. The platform more focuses on the state of forests, but it also deals with farmland conditions and water retention in landscape.

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