A new report of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) states that droughts will be more frequent, more dangerous and will last longer because of the poor water management of the lower Danube region.
According to szeretlekmagyarorszag.hu, bad droughts have been making life difficult in every part of Europe lately, and the worst is yet to come. France and Germany already had to implement emergency measures to tackle with exceptional drought this summer. However, based on WWF’s latest report, the damages caused by extreme drought can be decreased only by prevention measures in the water-abundant periods.
According to the WWF, the measures taken by EU-member countries to date have been mainly reactive, rather than preventative. Authorities acted only after there were already negative effects but droughts and water scarcity must be addressed when it is still possible to “save” the water provided by freshwater ecosystems in anticipation
of the next drought.
Based on the most recent data from the European Drought Observatory, even Europe’s northernmost countries, like
the Baltic region and Sweden, are experiencing the first warning signs of drought,
such as deficits in rainfall and soil moisture.
However, Europe’s freshwater resources are not protected well: 60 pc of them currently fail to meet the “good status” requirement of the EU’s water legislation. Moreover, there are no European rivers without dams. According to the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD), by 2027, Europe’s rivers, lakes, wetlands, streams, groundwater, transitional and coastal waters have to become healthy to enable them to better face the pressures ahead.
Because of the pollution, changes to shape or flow (dams), or the pressures of over-abstraction (excessive use of water, such as for the purposes of irrigation) freshwater ecosystems of Europe are not healthy anymore. Furthermore, member states would even like to weaken the
WFD aiming to protect our waters.
Poor water management practices can endanger future water sources and make it hard for water ecosystems to deal with the harmful effects of climate change.
According to WWF’s report, WFD could help EU member states to create a good water management system if they implemented it. WFD’s main aim is to mitigate the adverse effects of drought and help freshwater ecosystems adapt to climate change and provide good quality water even in the dry periods.
In Hungary, the risk of more frequent droughts is high, so the country has to prepare for more and longer dry periods. For example, in the case of the sand ridge between the Danube and the Tisza rivers, the height of the underground water has decreased by 2-5 or even at some places by 10 metres since 1970. Therefore, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
already classified the area as semi-desert.
According to the WWF, in order to reduce the damages of immediate drought measures have to be implemented. Building water reservoirs and creating an irrigation system is no longer enough since even reservoirs can dry out during a longer period of drought.
The real solution could be to create healthy freshwater ecosystems in Europe. Furthermore, in the case of floods or inland waters we
should retain and store the extra quantities in smaller lakes, wetlands, forests.
This is how we can reduce the adverse effects of drought while we can discover new economic opportunities, as well – Katalin Sipos, director of WWF Hungary, told.
HERE we wrote about a water retainer developed by a Hungarian company, Water&Soil Ltd, might solve the problems of Africa and other territories of the world struggling with droughts.
HERE you can find an article about Sahara dust reaching Hungary and doing considerable damage. Furthermore, many soda lakes in the Great Hungarian Plain dried up in April which many saw as a clear sign of climate change.
Finally, according to the analysis of the Hungarian National Meteorological Service, based on the recorded measurements since 1901, 2018 was the hottest year ever in Hungary, and the data is even higher than what global warming should have brought along.