Saturday, January 22, 2011

Europe begins to run short of water

Pavol Stracansky in IPS: Half of the Czech Republic’s population could face water shortages because of climate change, a top climate change expert has warned. The country has become one of the driest in the EU, according to local media, and climatologists say the land, and crucial underground water supplies, are drying up.

Professor Michal Marek, head of the EU-funded CzechGlobe climate change research project, told IPS: "The Czech Republic is already seeing the effects of climate change in more frequent extreme weather events and changes in biodiversity.

"But possibly the most important change is in the increasing drying out of the landscape as drier periods get longer and are followed by bursts of intense rainfall which the dry soil cannot absorb. This has a very significant effect on underground water supplies."

Climatologists and meteorologists in central Europe have said that the region is seeing more and more extreme weather including long periods of dry and hot weather in the summer, severe flooding and bitter winter weather.

While not all parts of central and Eastern Europe will necessarily have the same problems as the Czech Republic with underground water supplies because of local geological conditions and other factors, heavy rains falling on ground dried out by long periods of hot weather and unable to absorb water can increase the risk of flooding.

Poland, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria and Germany have all been hit by devastating floods in the last two years….

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