The Role of Water in the Landscape
In recent years, the Czech Republic has experienced extreme weather fluctuations leading to unexpected floods and long periods of drought. The current situation is a result of the long-term use of our landscape which is no longer able to retain and accumulate water, mainly due to technical alterations of watercourses, changes in land use and deforestation. Adaptation to climate change and prevention of further damage from extreme floods and droughts require an alternative approach to land use and land management. In the landscape, water performs multiple functions which are closely interconnected and dependent upon the functioning of the whole landscape. Thus, to properly manage water in the landscape, we need to embrace a holistic view—meaning protection and restoration of the whole landscape, not only fragments. Small water circulation should be promoted in the landscape; however, restoring the water cycle in the landscape is unattainable without revising agricultural practices and restoring alluvial processes, river ecosystems, and wetlands. There are two main strategic goals for restoration of the complete water cycle: first the restoration of drainage patterns having natural hydromorphology, and second the improvement of water retention capacity across landscapes of Czech Republic—water needs to infiltrate the soils at the same place where it falls as rain. This approach is based on the so-called new water paradigm and requires integration of all processes affecting water in the watershed, not only in the channels or reservoirs.
Other Key Terms: fish, habitat
Rulík, M. and S.M. White. 2019. The role of water in the landscape. Pages 71–90 in M. Zelenakova, J. Fialová, and A.M. Negm, editors. Assessment and protection of water resources in the Czech Republic. Springer International Publishing. New York, New York. 436p.