Only a few companies will benefit from the construction of the weir, the unique natural features of the Elbe, and nearby areas are at stake. The countryside is enticed by tourists from both sides of the border, who use the cycle path between Dresden and Usti nad Labem. As a result of changing the river banks and building the weir, the region would lose its distinctive character and local businesses, an important part of their income. In Germany alone, the tourist industry along the Elbe earns 120 million euros per year.
“The environmental impact would be a disaster. No compensation for concreting the river can be made for economic loss and loss of life in the Elbe. That's why the petition against the Elbe has been created. People can sign it at www.zivelabe.cz/en,” says Nikol Krejčová from Arnika.
Ecologists question about the benefit of shipping weir. The Elbe is already navigable for modern ships with a shallow draft. The construction of the weir would allow navigability for outdated ships with a deep draft, but only along a 9-kilometer-long stretch. Therefore, ecologists recommend investing in railway transport, the high-quality reconstruction of motorways, and the construction of bypasses. It will cost the Czech government 5 billion crowns.
On its lower reach, the Elbe is one of the last great rivers in Europe free of concrete or weirs. The water there is not limited by any weirs or dams. Three-hundred meters deep in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, the stony, sandy gravel sediments, which have been created for centuries and are home to precious plants and animals. The area is, therefore, included among the most important natural areas of Europe within the NATURA 2000 network.
World Water Day reminds us of the importance of water for our life on Earth and highlights the fact that people should care about it as well. Drying up, toxic pollution, dams and weirs are present and a danger to water resources. That's why many events are taking place all over the world to alert the public about water protection. The motto for this year is Nature for Water.