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ČR has third lowest water reserve per capita in EU

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Prague, July 23 (CTK) – The Czech Republic that gains 95 percent of water from atmospheric precipitation that quickly flows away, which ranks it among the EU’s three countries with the lowest water reserve per capita, will have to change its landscape, Environment Minister Richard Brabec (ANO) has said.
Daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes yesterday that the other two countries with the lowest water reserves per capita are Malta and Cyprus.
The paper writes that the lack of water may require the removal of large areas under rape and their substitution with small fields sown with lucerne, flax and peas, the reintroduction of balks, the building of small water reservoirs, new ponds and artificial swamps in some regions.
The financially more interesting maize and rape are grown for energy purposes, but the soil loses its natural ability to absorb moisture and water from torrential rains slides along it as if it were concrete.
The inability of the soil to retain water is a big problem in droughts like that which has paralysed the Czech Republic this summer, when heat records have been beaten, while there is almost no precipitation.
The Agrarian Chamber says the area of soil damaged this way has increased by more than 600,000 hectares during the past 20 years, MfD writes.
“Current models show that we can expect with a great degree of probability that the temperature of the air will rise, which will raise the evaporation of water and longer drought periods,” Agriculture Minister Marian Jurecka (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) has said.
That is why his ministry has drafted a material setting more than 50 tasks to individual ministries and offices. It provides for higher prices of ground water that is cheaper than surface water, introduces new rules for irrigation and underlines a bigger use of rain water.
Jurecka said the long-term tasks include the working out of prognoses of water consumption during the next 20 years, taking the probable increase in average temperatures into account.
Brabec said the government wants to fundamentally amend the water law that would put drought to the level of floods.
“The Czech Republic is prepared for floods, but not for drought that would be disastrous,” Brabec.
The Education Ministry should focus on children and the public ‘s education towards a reasonable handling of water and saving it.
The Agriculture Ministry will consider the reconstruction of water dams and removal of sediments from them to raise their retention capacity and the building of new small reservoirs.
This year’s drought has been responsible not only for rivers’ declining surface, but it has also affected ground water. According to the latest report by the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, 30 percent of test drills show a strong or extraordinary drought, while the level is within limits in more than a half of the drills.
Meteorologists predict the level of ground water will continue declining on the days ahead.

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