One of the worst droughts in recent Czech history is still tormenting farmers, with rainfalls in October measured at just a fifth of the monthly average. The total cost of damages to Czech agriculture and forestry has been estimated to lie at around CZK 24 billion so far and some farmers say the government is not doing enough about it.
A new Land and Water Centre has just been established by experts at the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague. Its aim is to search for measures that would adapt the country’s landscape to the ongoing climate changes, including extended periods of drought and as well as increasingly frequent flooding.
The summers of 2018 and 2003 were the hottest in the Czech Republic since
1961, when meteorologists began measuring average temperatures regularly.
According to the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (ČHMÚ), the average temperature for the months of June, July and August was 19.3 degrees Celsius, 2.3 degrees higher than the average for the summers of 1981 through 2010.
Recently, the ČHMÚ announced that summer 2018 was the hottest ever measured at the Klementinum in Prague, which has the oldest measuring station in the Czech Republic, commissioned in 1775.
Receding waterlines stemming from long droughts this summer have revealed some disturbing ancient relics – so-called “hunger stones”, some dating back as far as 1616, which serve as a warning to future generations. One such hydrological landmark on the Labe River is inscribed in German with the words in "If you see me, weep."
Czech farmers are predicting a significant slump in the hop harvest this year, caused by the unusually hot weather and lack of rain. Hop production is expected to drop despite the fact that the overall area of hop fields expanded by 81 hectares in 2018. Last year, farmers harvested over 6,700 tonnes of hops, which was slightly above the average.
Boat traffic on the Baťa Canal in Moravia has been curtailed after a
marked fall in the level of the waterway. This follows an intense drought
and a falling of the water level in the adjacent Morava River. Only boats
whose submersion does not exceed 60 centimetres are now allowed on the
Baťa Canal, operators said in a statement on Thursday.
It is the first time such restrictions have been imposed on the waterway, which was opened in 1938. They are set to remain in place until September 2.
The Czech Republic, like most of Europe, continues to face serious problems related to the drawn-out period of drought. Nearly 60 municipalities around the country have already introduced measures restricting the use of drinking water. The cabinet addressed the issue at its first session after the summer holidays on Wednesday.