Tuesday, 4 June 2013
Did they say the flood reduction works would stop a once in a century sized flood? This argument was used to justify the destruction of Cesky Krumlov's historic riverside and island, the grubbing out of a channel creating a speeding river where once had been a slow one, and the replacement of soft river banks with man-made concrete and granite walls. Well on Sunday the reduction works experienced their first test and failed.
In 2002 Cesky Krumlov and Prague suffered devastating floods as waters released from Lake Lipno rushed up the Vltava. This time the cause was different - we have had unseasonably wet weather last month which meant the ground was saturated when on Saturday the heavens opened for a massive downpour which lasted over 36 hours.
The water having nowhere to go ran off the fields into the streams turning them into torrrents and from there the waters poured downhill into the waiting River Vltava.
Residents in Cesky Krumlov's riverside properties were woken around midnight to sirens and the warning that the flood was on its way. The floods not only hit the area along the Vltava, but also along the little rivers and streams. As we drove into Cesky Krumlov the following morning along the Chvalsinska Road, we could see that a small stream had turned into a monster and swept across the road, flooding properties and car parks. A white car lay crushed against a fence.
By the time we arrived in Krumlov historic centre the flood levels had already dropped 1.5 metres, but the sight was still impressive. We went to Laibon Restaurant on Parkan, which was open despite having been under 10 cms water earlier that morning. Life goes on, as it has done after countless floods over the centuries.
The truth is that no flood reduction work could ever be fully successful in Cesky Krumlov. Floods have been a way of life in this town and without raising the town by several metres they will remain so. The reduction measures have even had a disastrous consequence, which was foreseen by the former civic engineer Mr Pesek, namely the walls of the houses in Parkan are showing large cracks, due to the drying out of their foundations. Let's hope the Town Council doesn't see this as an opportunity to throw more money at failing to address the floods and so ruin this lovely town.