More than 11,000 scientists from all over the world, including dozens of experts from the Czech Republic, have signed a report which for the first time labels climate change as an ‘emergency. ’ The declaration, released just few weeks ahead of the UN Climate Change Summit, warns that the climate crisis is accelerating faster than expected and urges world leaders to take immediate steps to mitigate the crisis.
The Czech Republic is lacking long-term measures as well as necessary
legislation to fight drought, concludes a report by the Supreme Audit
Office (NKU) carried out at the ministries of agriculture and environment.
The report also says there are not enough grant programmes focusing on the problem of drought, with the exception of Dešťovka, a programme encouraging households to save water by using rain water storage.
According to the Supreme Audit Office, damages caused by drought last year amounted to 24 billion crowns. Minister of the Environment Richard Brabec (ANO) categorically rejected the findings, saying ‘thousands of anti-drought projects’ are in place.
Another long-term drought could cost the Czech economy up to 80 billion crowns, equivalent to a drop of 1.6 percentage points in GDP, according to a new study. Researchers at the University of Life Sciences warn that in order to conserve water for essential use, key industries would be forced to cut production, adding an exponential ripple effect to the surface-level economic impact.
New research by scientists from the Water, Soil and Landscape Centre at the
Czech University of Life Sciences suggests that another long-term spell of
drought would result in an CZK 80 billion contraction of the Czech economy.
Aside from financial effects, drought would also have an impact on
population health and the environment. At a press conference on Wednesday
the team suggested spending CZK 25 billion annually on preventative
Researchers presented two scenarios of how the economy could be impacted by further droughts.
One scenario envisions a 25 percent decrease in the productivity of industries, such as textile or paper production, which are dependent on water supplies. In this case the economy would face a production capability decline between 0.9 to 1.6 percent of GDP.
The second scenario, counts on a 50 percent decrease that would cut production down by 2.8 to 4.8 percent of GDP.
Groundwater levels remain at the lowest average points since the 1960s,
according to the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, despite the heavy
rain of recent days.
Soil drought afflicts nearly two-thirds of Czech territory with no relief in sight.
Meteorologists say sustained rain and isolated thunderstorms will only raise humidity levels in the upper soil strata, and only in certain areas.
As a result of frequent summer droughts in recent years and increasing
number of Czechs are requesting permission to dig or renew their own wells,
the ctk news agency reports, citing local authorities.
For instance the city of Tabor, in south Bohemia, has received 88 such requests from the start of the year, compared to 47 in the same period last year; Kladno has received 47 requests whereas it had just one last year.
Moreover local authorities admit the number could be much higher because due to red tape the approval process takes months and many people have started digging wells without waiting for permission.
During extended periods of drought some towns have limited water consumption to 100 litres per day.
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.
Temperatures over the next four weeks should remain above average for the time of year, according to a regular four-week weather forecast issued by the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute. After a burst of heavy rain this weekend, temperatures are expected to rise again next week, reaching 30 degrees Celsius. The amount of rainfall for the whole four-week period should be below the long-term average.