Nov 26, 2023

Drying Up: Czech Republic’s Drought Reaches 34%

Hena Takal

Hena Takal

The Czech Republic is grappling with a 34% drought impact, accompanied by a decline in groundwater levels.

Over the last decade, the monthly discharge of springs has seen a worrisome 127% decrease, according to data from the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute.

Groundwater, vital for daily life as a key drinking water source and for soil fertility, is facing challenges. However, insights from the Czech Republic in Data journalism project highlight that scientific initiatives like Smart Landscape may offer solutions.

Continued water scarcity and extreme weather conditions pose a threat to crops, jeopardizing the country’s food supply. Currently, the Czech Republic’s drought affects 34%, correlating with over 30% agricultural losses.

“The primary cause of this decline is the increased evaporation of water from the ground due to rising temperatures. While precipitation during this period was 5% less than the long-term average, the main issue lies in its uneven distribution. Most waterfalls during heavy rains, running off the surface without penetrating the ground,” explains Alexandra Cholevová, an analyst for Czechia in Data.

Would an upswing in rainfall positively impact water reserves?

One might argue that the groundwater shortage stems from drought and insufficient rainfall. However, the crux lies in the evolving climate, resulting in more frequent fluctuations and rising temperatures.

This means an observed increase in the rate of evaporation. Between 2015 and 2019, water vapor values were up to 17% higher than between 1981 and 2010. With heightened evaporation, the loss of water from watersheds and soil will escalate, making a mere increase in precipitation insufficient to rectify the situation.

Addressing the drought challenge

Addressing the decline in groundwater levels presents a formidable challenge with potential diverse solutions. For instance, the Czech University of Life Sciences (CULS) has initiated the Smart Landscape project, leveraging technology from T-Mobile.

As part of the project, several installations monitor the impacts of extreme weather fluctuations on surface and groundwater. Collaboration with T-Mobile marks a significant stride in enhancing data collection for the project, providing a private 5G network enabling continuous, weather-independent data collection on water conditions, eliminating the need for manual readings.

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