The Czech Republic is experiencing a catastrophic drought, threatening crops and water supplies, said Environment Minister Richard Brabec. This is the worst drought in the country in the last 500 years.
A map presented by the minister shows that only 0.1 percent of the country’s population had normal soil water levels in mid-April, while 75.4 percent experienced severe drought.
Over the past decade, rain and snowfall have declined, and warming temperatures have led to periods of drought in a landlocked country. This year, a combination of warm winters and lack of precipitation led to a “catastrophic” situation, said Brabets. Scientists have also shown evidence that the country is experiencing the worst drought in five centuries.
“We are facing an unprecedented period of drought, both in duration and in its consequences,” he said. “The smaller rivers will dry up, there may be dozens, perhaps hundreds of communities equipped with tanks, because their sources can dry out.”
Dry weather and warmer temperatures also led to the spread of the bark beetle, which hit the country in 2019, resulting in damage of about $ 1.7 billion.
The Ministry of the Environment is seeking financial assistance to combat drought – a step that could help crops such as grain and rapeseed.
Although the COVID-19 crisis is the country’s most pressing issue at present, Brabets noted that climate change and drought will be the biggest problems in the coming years.
“Unless a miracle occurs that brings monthly continuous rain, we will see that rivers and streams are drying up, and tens or hundreds of villages are left without a source of drinking water.”