Irrigation systems and their prospects … an outsider’s view

In addition, I believed that the drought in The Czech Republic and Slovakia is only a term used by farmers for justification of their claims against the government and/or insurers. In addition, I must come clean that I considered those two days as sort of a rest filled by hearing something else than hot news for us, the technological managers, and that I might come across some new ideas.

However, everything was different:

- The very beginning was stylised in catastrophic scenarios supported by mathematic models (Aladin and RegGM), according to which we are quickly nearing, without actually moving, to the subtropical regions. Even at present, some localities can be characterised in this way, at least for a part of the year, and their number is growing. In addition, according to such statistics and models, it is quite clear that the climate will be even warmer.

- In terms of various balances, it is even shown that precipitation deposits do not decrease on a large scale, the opposite is true, but the problem consists in ever-increasing demand as well as in different time distributions. Due to the increasing temperatures, the altitude (the height above sea level), where the volume of precipitations is limiting for harvests is increasing as well. During next 50 years, this altitude will rise by approx. 150 metres – i.e. up to 400 metres above sea level, the water availability (irrigation) will influence the harvests more than sunshine.

- The main reason for this increased demand for water is the higher temperature, which results in two trends – an extended vegetation period (the spring days come earlier and plants will vaporise more water in this period) and the average yearly temperature will be higher as well, which will result in some places, e.g. in the region of the Danube basin, even double consumption of water for irrigation, if the same harvests are to be preserved. Ironically, any increase in harvests due to the increased temperatures, will be remarkably limited by the water supply, which will be unavailable.

Fist finding – the drought is here and it is more critical than I have expected to this point.

Another interesting points:

- The irregularity of precipitation deposits is increasing in both intensity and occurrence. Periods without rains, as well rainy spells are lengthened.

- In proportion to the humus (organic components) depletion, the soil loses its ability to accumulate water, which means that in cases of even small precipitations one hundred thousandth cubic metres are drained quickly from the territory without any use. Moreover, the humus depletion is a proven long-term trend (its sources are getting scarce – e.g. livestock production).

Second finding – for the future, it will be necessary to provide for increased accumulations of water, if we intend to avoid droughts and floods and to create adequate conditions for the harvest preservation.

Another catastrophic events:

Large-scale irrigation systems constructed in the past, e.g. the irrigation under Brno, are in shambles, and belong to irretrievable memorials to the past glory. The systems still in service are founded on simply enthusiastic ideas, but also on uncertain legal relations. In such cases, these enthusiasts risk that the capital expenditures they have spent in the past may come to nothing because of administrative-political decisions. The governmental institutions are perfect in producing better and better statistics, and they increasingly pursue research projects focused to water issued in the landscape (many people work excellently at a theoretical level), but the results in the practice in some practical, legislation and financial measures are negligible.

Third finding – so far, the government is not worried about droughts and activities of governmental institutions are ineffective in this sphere.

In the end, to mitigate the poor impression brought about by grim visions and catastrophic trends, a topic seemingly boring and out-of-date for other participants, occurred. Mr. Krátký, the representative of the Vltava River Basin District, repeated several times the official statement of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic as regards the issues of the irrigation with wastewater. If one is not biased and narrow minded, it sounds logically.

- Irrigation – means treatment and handling with water with the aim of supplying various plants for their needs. No discharging is involved and therefore this has nothing in common with water disposal.

- Discharge of wastewater - means treatment and handling with water with the aim of draining it, and which results it outflow to underground waters. This process logically requires a permit for disposing the water. The rest is only pettifoggery.

Therefore, we can conclude the issue optimistically: the fact that we own unique expertise as regards the irrigation with wastewater is a plus to the future. Irrigation will be necessary and there is a relative abundance of wastewater. So far, there are not many companies and equipment that can reliably irrigate with wastewater with detailed solutions for both operating as well as material spheres with regard to our climate conditions.

The equipment we have at our disposal – AS-GEOFLOW – has a great potential for establishing itself on the Czech market.


Ing. Karel Plotěný