Geografie 2002, 107, 98-110

Changing Water Quality in the Czech Part of the Elbe Catchment Area in the 1990s

Bohumír Janský

Department of Physical Geography and Geoecology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Albertov 6, 128 43 Praha 2, Czechia

The Elbe is the largest river of the Czech Republic. On the state boundary it has an average long-term flow rate of 315 m3/s and it drains 2/3 of Czech territory into the North Sea. The alluvial plain of the Elbe was from the very beginning of our history an important migration corridor and later it gained a substantial economic significance. The impulse for the cooperation of Czechs and Germans on the Elbe was the unification of Germany. In 1990 an "Agreement about the International Commission for the Protection of the Elbe" was signed, and in 1992 regular Czech-German expert seminars started to take place. Geographers from the Faculty of Sciences of Charles University in Prague participated in the cooperation with German academic institutions. They introduced some new methodical approaches into the research of surface water quality and they achieved a number of valuable results. In twelve years of intensive scientific activities and substantial financial investments into the sanitation of sewage water from the largest pollution sources, water quality in the Elbe has improved markedly.