The damage by late spring frost to the Czech fruit harvest is expected to
exceed 100 million crowns, according to the head of the Association of
Czech Fruit Growers, Martin Ludvik.
The worst-hit areas are in northern and western Bohemia where farmers have lost much of their harvest. In Moravia farmers report damages due to severe hailstorms.
The annual value of the country’s fruit harvest is at around 1.3 billion crowns. In recent years farmers have repeatedly suffered losses due to spring frost or summer droughts.
The Czech Republic is planning to spend billions in the coming decades on
fighting drought. Speaking on Tuesday after a meeting of the National
Coalition to Combat Drought, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said CZK 24
billion would be invested into connecting different water supply systems.
The state will also spend CZK 6 billion on renewing mains pipelines.
The minister of the environment, Richard Brabec, said further money could be drawn from EU funds and that a total of around CZK 50 billion would be invested.
Mr. Babiš said the prognosis was not good and this year could be the sixth in succession in which the country experiences drought. He said solving water shortages was the most pressing challenge facing his government.
Year-on-year water consumption among Czechs has risen to 133.5 litres a day
per person, the Czech Statistics Agency reports. Household consumption has
gone up to 89.2 litres per person. The highest water consumption is
registered among households in Prague, where it lies at 107 litres per
Data shows that water use has been increasing among Czech households for years. Meanwhile, farmers are expecting low yields as extreme drought is reported to have spread across 30 percent of the country.
However, statistics show that the current levels of water consumption are still well below the common rates registered in the 1980s, when 170 litres were used up on a daily basis per person.
The current dry weather in the Czech Republic is facilitating the reproduction of the bark beetle, which destroys spruce trees. Indeed, the voracious insect began swarming a week earlier this year than in 2018, which saw the most costly bark beetle infestation in this part of the world for a full two centuries.
Czech firefighters have had to deal with nearly 1700 fires since the
beginning of April, a spokeswoman for the Czech Fire Rescue Service said on
Thursday. In April, they were called to assist in 98 fires a day, which is
two times the average. Eight people died as a result of the fires and 71
Fires out in the open prevail these days and are mainly caused by people’s negligence as well as the unseasonably hot and dry weather. Ahead of the Easter weekend, firefighters have warned that burning garden waste and old grass is prohibited by law.