WWF Hungary organized a field visit at the Tisza river between May 30 and June 2, 2023 as part of the MERLIN project. A total of 32 professionals from 17 institutions in 9 countries participated in the event. The Hungarian meeting took place because Hungary’s two large rivers, the Danube and the Tisza, are also involved in the nature conservation project.
During the event, beside the workshop, the participants visited one of the last unregulated floodplains in the country, the Bodrogzug, as well as the Bereg Flood Reservoir and its surroundings near the Tisza. In the latter area, which was a floodplain before the river regulation, the infrastructure created during the construction of the reservoir provides an opportunity for professionals to release water from the Tisza into the water system of the reservoir area in a regulated manner. This has critical importance both in order to restore the drying landscape and to prevent the harmful effects of extreme droughts like last year. The participants studied the structure and operation of the system, and also got to know the related challenges and dilemmas, which present further tasks to the representatives of the relevant fields. Currently, the largest problem is the lack of water, because due to short-term and low Tisza floods, water can only be released from the river to the area for a few days a year statistically, which is not enough to compensate the water shortage of the landscape. As a potential solution, the possibility of active - pumping - water replenishment was also raised. Another challenge is how the diverse types of land use typical of the area could be coordinated and made to be suitable for water retention in wetter periods.
The effective joint work and the acquired field knowledge will significantly contribute to the success of the MERLIN project, while the experts from several European countries have gained thorough knowledge of the Upper Tisza region, which is less known even in domestic circles.
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