Water availability in Northern Bohemia in Czech Republic

© MAS Český sever, z.s. (LAG Cesky sever)

© MAS Český sever, z.s. (LAG Cesky sever)

© MAS Český sever, z.s. (LAG Cesky sever)

© MAS Český sever, z.s. (LAG Cesky sever)

The case study region (CSR) „Northern Bohemia“ consists of two districts (LAU1): CZ0421 Decin and CZ0511 Ceska Lipa. The area of the case study region accounts for 1982 km2 and there live 235 thousand inhabitants. The average income (in PPS GDP per capita) amounts €11500 in 2012 which is 40% below the EU average and 25% below the national average.

The share of agriculture on the case study region GDP is 2% and the share on the labour force is even lower – only 1.5%.  The characteristic feature of the CSR “Northern Bohemia” is its turbulent demographic and socio-economic development. The majority of population in this region were Germans who were expelled after 1945. The new settlement was unstable, people migrated in and out of the region frequently. Because of the lack of people agriculture and manufacturing industry collapsed after world war 2, later they both recovered. However, the infrastructure remained fairly underdeveloped compared to other parts of the country. Agriculture and textile industry experienced a further shock during the transition period in the 1990s. People moved out again.

The population density of 118 inhabitants per km2 is 12% below the national average (135 inhab./km2), the focus area namely Sluknov area is located on the frontier between predominantly rural and intermediate regions according to the OECD methodology. Due to the lack of labour force, most of the arable land was converted into grassland. The conversion was accelerated to a large extent by investors who envisaged extensive agriculture as a mean for collecting income supports (direct payments, LFA payments). The conversion went hand in hand with the introduction of beef cattle. The livestock density is however low around 0.2 livestock unit per hectare.

The case study region (CSR) „Northern Bohemia“ consists of two districts (LAU1): CZ0421Decin and CZ0511 Ceska Lipa. The area of the case study region accounts for 1982 km2 and there live 235 thousand inhabitants. The average income (in PPS GDP per capita) amounts €11500 in 2012 which is 40% below the EU average and 25% below the national average.

The share of agriculture on the case study region GDP is 2% and the share on the labour force is even lower – only 1.5%.  The characteristic feature of the CSR “Northern Bohemia” is its turbulent demographic and socio-economic development. The majority of population in this region were Germans who were expelled after 1945. The new settlement were unstable, people migrated in and out of the region frequently. Because of the lack of people agriculture and manufacturing industry collapsed after WW2, later they both recovered. However, the infrastructure remained fairly underdeveloped comparing the other parts of the country. Agriculture and textile industry experienced a further shock during the transition period in the 1990s. People moved out again.

The CSR population density of 118 inhabitants per km2 is 12% below the national average (135 inhab./km2), the HS area “CZ1” (Sluknov area) is on the frontier between Predominantly Rural and Intermediate regions according to the OECD methodology. Due to lack of labour force, most of the arable land was turned in grassland. The conversion was accelerated to large extent by the investors who envisaged extensive agriculture as a mean for collecting income supports (direct payments, LFA payments). The conversion went hand by hand with the introduction of beef cattle. The livestock density is however low around 0.2 LU per hectare.

The participants in the first stakeholder workshop identified water availability as a critical public good issue in the north-west part of the case study region – we marked it as the hot spot CZ1. The CZ1 region exhibits the level of rainfalls usually above the national average. In addition, the share of grasslands on agricultural lands exceeds 80% there. It assured sufficient supply of surface and underground water in the past. However, with the climate change temperature increase and weather irregularities local people, agriculture and forestry are exposed to dry seasons with which the current land management system and practices cope only with difficulties. Drought resilience requires coordination among stakeholders like farmers, foresters, water management bodies and environmental administrations (and perhaps also some NGOs).

We consider two public goods – the primary one “water availability” (rather intangible) and the secondary one – a tangible face of the primary public good “high water retention capacity of cultural landscape”.

Supplying water retention means

  1. carrying agro-technical practices (operational measures) allowing water to leak deeper in the soil and to stay there (underground water);
  2. establishing technical measures like barrier, polders and ponds to prevent water run-off after rains or when snow melts.

Obviously, low retention capacity of the landscape results in floods if rains are heavy – often with damages on private and public properties which can be classified as public “bad” (the other side of the coin). Since arable land has already been converted in grasslands in the case study region, we put more emphasis on water retention technical measures (WRTM).

 

Farmers and foresters also pursue adjustment measures e.g. a selection of crops and trees which are less sensitive to water shortages in upper layers of the soil as alpha-alpha or broad leaf trees. Adjustment practices are deemed to reduce the need for mitigation measures i.e. introduction of TM and OM.

Improved water availability (retention capacity of the landscape) can only be achieved if technical and operational measures are taken on most of the territory. The establishment of TM and introduction of operational measures brings costs (investment and maintenance) which are unevenly distributed among actors: absolutely and also in relation to the benefits.

Farmers willingness to provide land for the construction of technical measures to increase the provision of water. Read more…

Concentrating local actors for landscape water management. A collective approach. Read more….

Stakeholder Portal

Here you can find outcomes of the participatory workshops and further dissemination material.

 

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