The issue of drought has been a hot topic in recent years. The current situation, despite a relatively favourable May, confirms this trend. The accumulation of consecutive dry years has resulted in a worsening of the manifestations of drought, in particular the reduction of river flows and groundwater levels. There are a number of opinions that attribute a significant contribution to the current situation to agricultural production and farming. Experts confirm that climate change is a global problem and that major changes in farming will only lead to a reduction (mitigation) of the effects of drought in the landscape. Landscapes need to adapt to ongoing changes.
The principles in the Green Deal and the emerging Common Agricultural Policy are evolving along these lines. In the Czech Republic, activities will be concentrated in two main areas. Land management will have to support more nature-friendly measures. Increasing the number of landscape features is important. A major opportunity is the revitalisation of land reclamation systems. The construction of retention and storage reservoirs will be essential to meet the needs of the population and water management.
What we encounter is a tendency to separate and confront individual water efficiency measures instead of trying to link them together. Some measures limit the maintenance of agricultural activities on the land (building water reservoirs, wetlands), others do not (increasing the retention or storage capacity of soils). It is desirable to increase the biodiversity of the landscape, but this should be done in full awareness of the impact of these activities on agriculture and forestry as well.
The synergy of interrelated measures will be evident in water retention not only during heavy rainfall (landscape retention function) but also in mitigating the impacts of drought (various forms of water storage for later use). Measures can only be built using specific (suitably located) land, which is usually privately owned – municipal or state land is already in short supply. In this case, the company is teetering on the edge of public and private law. An example of this is not only the difficulty of building new measures, but also of ensuring the joint care of existing ones. In the case of irrigation and drainage, these are large-scale systems, either in area or linear terms, which serve to optimise soil moisture regimes in the landscape, or to retain and store water (dry retention or water reservoirs, wetlands, anti-erosion measures). These measures are most effective if they can be linked together. For example, it is advisable that measures to increase the infiltration capacity of soils (agro-/bio-/technical measures, increasing the humus content of the soil, etc.) should be followed by technical measures to retain water on the surface (depressions, borders, ditches) or below the surface (underground dams, drainage runoff control, etc.). Excess water will then be retained in low-lying pools, reservoirs or revitalised watercourses and adjacent river floodplains. This system allows for the most efficient water retention and management.
All of the above measures are aimed at retaining water in the landscape and thus mitigating/reducing drought. Nevertheless, for crisis solutions to water scarcity, we cannot do without building large reservoirs preferably linked in systems, as also mentioned by the MoH in the outlook for the next 30 years.
In order to reduce the impacts of the ongoing climate change, the CWA calls for the promotion of a set of interrelated water-efficient measures, going beyond the division of the landscape into agricultural and forestry parts, extravillas and intravillas. Appropriately interlinked measures will increase the ability of the landscape to retain water from rainfall and subsequently use it efficiently.