The project supported by the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic (No. TA02020395) is focused on drying up of watercourses. It responds to the currently highly topical issue of water scarcity, which, due to ongoing climate change, no longer avoids Central Europe, the territory where it was not common in the past. The project deals with biological indication of drying up of streams and with mapping of areas in the Czech Republic where streams are vulnerable to partial or complete drying. The project’s acronym is .
The aim of the project is to develop tools for a risk assessment of drying up of streams that will include a method for the assessment of drying up of streams and a map of watercourses vulnerability to drying. The method of retrospective biological indication of dry episodes will be based on the analysis of taxonomic and functional composition of benthic macroinvertebrate communities and will involve metrics able to quantify the frequency and extent of drying up of streams ranging from permanent to intermittent. The project outcomes will identify specific river basins and stream stretches that have been or could in the future be affected by drying and minimize the damage caused by the effects of climate change.
It is rather difficult to model past dry episodes at smaller streams using conventional methods (e.g. reverse modelling according to climatic data). Moreover, without taking into account local differences caused by different abiotic conditions (e.g. geological composition of the stream bed) or the intensity of anthropogenic activities (e.g. water abstractions), the outputs are difficult to validate. The proposed method of retrospective biological indication of dry episodes based on the analysis of the benthic macroinvertebrate communities may constitute an appropriate and relatively robust tool.