Saxony: Less water in Saxony's rivers: First places dry

Rain has been scarce in Saxony for weeks.

Saxony: Less water in Saxony's rivers: First places dry

Rain has been scarce in Saxony for weeks. Most rivers lack water - and the situation is getting worse.

Dresden (dpa/sn) - The persistent heat and drought are exacerbating the situation in Saxony's rivers. Most of them now have extremely low water - with the exception of the Elbe. According to the State Office for the Environment, Agriculture and Geology (LfULG), the flows are currently in this range at many of the 149 gauges evaluated - with a further 29 the trend is pointing in the same direction. The situation is "very tense" and comparable to that in July 2018, said hydrologist Petra Walther.

"Some sections of the river have already dried up," said Walther. This includes the Black Elster near the border with Brandenburg near Hoyerswerda, where there was also emergency fishing. According to Walther, this happens quickly in the small tributaries and headwaters. The Prießnitz, for example, still has water further up - in contrast to the estuary. "There is nothing more." The fish suffered in standing water because lakes and ponds were heating up and the oxygen content was falling.

According to Walther, there is no prospect of relaxation in the foreseeable future. "It will stay this hot for the next 14 days with no precipitation in sight." Even if it occasionally rains, it has no lasting effect. "If 30 liters come down in a short time, the river will hiccup and then the water will flow away," she said. "There should be a nice downpour every day."

In periods of low precipitation, rivers are also fed by groundwater, explained Walther. However, its levels are currently too low, and the deficit there is also large. According to the latest LfULG report, the monthly groundwater level fell an average of 64 centimeters at 86 percent of the measuring points evaluated.

The Elbe is still well filled, also because it has rained heavily in its catchment area in Bohemia (Czech Republic) in the past few days and water is released via the Vltava cascades above Prague, which then flows into the Elbe. The fluctuations were related to the controls there, Walther said. "We also benefit from construction work on the largest dam Orlík." They will be released for this. "We didn't have that in 2018."

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