Hydrography in the Český Krumlov region

The main European watershed of the North Sea - Black Sea runs south of the Český Krumlov region (often along the state border). The main part of the region belongs to the North Sea basin and only some streams in the Svatotomášské pohoří (i.e. Světlá) flow southwards. The main part of the region has an enormous water-industrial importance for south Bohemia and for the entire Czech Republic.

 Aerial view of the Vltava River, foto: Libor Sváček
The main river, which empties almost the entire territory, is the Vltava. It aproaches the region from the north-west and immediately flows into Lipno. At the dam, a hydro-electric power-plant is built and the Vltava water flows under the ground, through the Francis turbines by 3.5 km long tunnel under the mountain Luč to the compensatory dam Lipno II at Vyšší Brod. This prevents the water from flowing through the wildest and most romantic parts of the Vltava - Čertovy proudy (Devil's Streams) under Čertova stěna, the Devil's Wall. Nowadays they are almost dry while a larger amount of water flows from here only occassionally (during boating competitions or the like). The Vltava sharply changes its south-east direction northward before the little town of Rožmberk where it creates the so called náčepní loket, something like a pivotal elbow. (The Vltava River originally flowed in a south-eastern direction to the Danube until tectonic activity lifted the end of the tri-mountain area - the modern day bordering area and coerced the river to look for a new route). After Rožmberk, the Vltava flows north and cuts some very deep canyons (Český Krumlov itself is also proof of this) and enriches the calm České Budějovice basin at Boršov. At the sewage plant, the Vltava gains its silver-foam colour back, but until not very long ago it was a dead and sticky sewer due to the wasted waters from the paper factories in Loučovice and Větřní. Nowadays the Vltava is endangered by an opposite extreme: it is massively used for boating and in the summer is literally over-crowded by different boats.

Upper stream of Malše river, foto: Václav Dolanský

The main water current of the eastern part of the region is the Malše. It begins under the name Maltsch in the Austrian Freiwald, village Sandl. Five kilometers later it crosses the state border and rides along it for 20 km. At Dolní Dvořiště it turns north and flows through Kaplice until it reaches České Budějovice, where after 92 km it flows into the Vltava. The water of the Malše is purified into potable water in the Římov reservoir (at Velešín) and supplies a large part of Českokrumlovsko, Kaplicko and České Budějovice. Another use of the Malše's waters is in České Budějovice for an artificial drive, called the Mlýnská system, which distributes water to some establishments. Another large south Bohemian river, the Lužnice, flows through the Novohradský region. It also begins in Austria (under the name Lainsitz), after 1.5 km reaches the Bohemian territory and flows parallel to the state border about 5 km north until Stříbrná huť. There it leaves Czech territory and returns back at České Velenice to become one of the most popular south Bohemian rivers in the Třeboň and Tábor regions. At Pohoří na Šumava the spring of one of the river's inflows is regulated and captured as a second possible spring of Lužnice.

Upper stream of Lužnice river creates borders with Austria, foto: Václav Dolanský

In the west area of the region (under Knížecí stolec in the Želnavská highlands) springs other well-known south Bohemian river, Blanice. After some kilometres it leaves our region at Arnoštov and later flows to Otava. Part of Blanice's upper stream has been declared as a national natural park for the protection of river pearl-oysters (Margaritifera margaritifera).

From the enormous number of water streams we choose only the most interesting.

The axis of the Křemže basin (Křemžská kotlina) is Křemžský potok, which springs from the north-west slope of Chlum Mountain. It is named after the closest villages: Markův, Rybářský, Dobročkovský or Brložský potok. Its 30 km long current has a mountainous character in the beginning and considerably slopes down along its entire length. In some of its sectors live remaining populations of river pearl-oysters. It flows into the Vltava under the ruins of Dívčí Kámen castle.

Polečnice stream flows into the Vltava right in Český Krumlov at the Budějovická Gate. The rocky estuary was cut artificially. After floods in 1848 it replaced the original natural manger-outlet from the pond Jelení zahrada (Deer Gardens), which had served as a game park from the Rožmberk era. Polečnice springs under the Dřevíč top and flows in many meanders through abandoned territories now used by the military. Its total length is 29 km. At Kájov it meets its biggest inflow - the 16 km long Chvalšinský stream, which derives the south slope of the Blanský Forest.

Polečnice Stream - Chvalšinský stream under the bridge at the Budějovická Gate in Český Krumlov, foto: Libor Sváček

Černá, called also Švarcava, originates in Austria on the south slope of Nebelstein. It flows through the wooded areas and romantic valleys of the Novohradské mountains in a northwesterly direction and below Kaplice flows into the Malše. Its 29 km long current has been intensively used by people for the production of electricity (there is a small dam with a power plant south of Soběnova) and for wood transportation (the route Zlatá Ktiš not far from the Žofínský old growth forest, and may be the most beautiful pond of its kind). The 23 km long Pohořský stream flows into Černá at Líčova. It flows through the peat bogs of Novohradské mountains and originates at the state border in a place called Trojmezí or Šance (the meeting point of High and Low Austria borders and borders of the Czech Republic is marked with a historical border post). The Pohořský stream has been also used for wood transportation, as is proved by the still notable adjustments of the manger and route of the Jiřická reservoir.

From the many little streams we can still mention the Jílecký stream (also known as Malčický), where gold was seived in the past.

Schwarzenberg navigational canal, stone wall

An important and interesting artificial water stream is the Schwarzenbeg navigational canal, which was projected and built at the end of the 18th and beginning of 19th century by the engineer Josef Rosenauer from Chvalšiny. The canal was used for transporting wood. It connected the basins of the Vltava and Danube after passing through the 420 m long tunnel at the village Jelení. The canal starts at a height of 916 m at the Czech-Bavarian border, not far from the Nové Údolí (but was built from the opposite direction), winds round the massifs Třístoličník, Trojmezná, Plechý a Smrčina and at the village Zvonková crosses the Austrian border. It turns back once more to Czech territory under Vítkův Kámen, where it crosses the main European watershed at a height of 790 m, flows into the stream Světlá (Zwettelbach) and after 3 km definitively enters Austrian territory. The total length of the cannel is 44.4 km, the length of the connected water branching is 7.5 km and the average slope is 4‰.

Water areas:
There aren't any natural water areas in the Český Krumlov region. The closest lake is Plešné, one of five in the Šumavská tarn in Bohemia. Its surface is 7.5 ha, maximum depth 18 m, and it lies at 1090 m above sea level and under a 288 m high lake wall on the north-east slope of Pleché (1378 m) - the highest top of the Czech part of Šumava. On its bottom grows rare Isoetes echinospora.

Plešné lake II., foto: Václav Dolanský

The biggest artificial water area is Lake Lipno. It was built in 1952-1960 on the upper current of the Vltava as the highest stage of the Vltava's fall (the height of the dam's crown is 729 m above sea level). Lake Lipno is relatively shallow (the average depth is 6.5 m and the maximum is 21.5 m) but is 48 km long and its surface is almost 50 km2 (the largest in the Czech Republic). One looking over the surface of the water can hardly imagine that some villages, egregious part of the Šumava region - forests and peat bogs - and the meandres of the Vltava (the best known section at Horní Planá was called the "Heart of the Vltava") have disappeared under it. The weather has also changed, as now it is colder and rainier here. This dam is connected with the compensatory dam Lipno II, situated at Vyšší Brod and is only 2 km long. A large campsite is located on its shores, which is a starting point for many water lovers boating on the Vltava.

Šumava - Lake Lipno in winter    Lake Lipno, sunset above the lake, foto: Libor Sváček

The next dam is the Římov reservoir, was built in the 1970's on the Malše River at Velešín for supplying the nearby regions (Českobudějovicko, Českokrumlovsko, Kaplicko and others) with potable water. The dam is 12 km long and the entire waterworks system contains some treatment plants, tanks and overflow systems. Under its surface has disappeared the most beautiful canyon of the river Malše. Fortunately the members of ZO ČSOP Velešín could at least film it.

The third dam is the small Soběnov lake (with a surface of only about 4 ha) on the river Černá, which was built already in 1925 and is used for energy purposes.

Natural reservation Pláničský pond, foto: Václav Dolanský

There are a surprisingly small number of ponds in the Českokrumlovsko region. They were built chaotically (not as a system) in different periods of history. The biggest pond of the region is Olšina at Hodňov, which has surface of 133 ha and ranks among the large Bohemia ponds situated at high altitudes (731 m). It was built as early as the end of the 14 century. Six meters at its deepest, the pond is used for recreation. It is reachable only from the south-east - its surface lies in a territory used by the military. Its north shore has been declared a natural park. The Pláničský pond at Černá v Pošumaví (770m, 10ha) is very interesting due to its rare water and shore vegetation, where yellow water lily (Nuphar pumila) grows.

Jiřická dam on Pohořský creek, foto: Václav Dolanský

Artificial water tanks (or klauzury), standby tanks for immediate supply of water for cases of wood transport are interesting and many times very beautifully located. In our region they can be found mainly in the Novohradské mountains (Jiřická lake, Kapelunk, Zlatá Ktiš, Uhlišťský and Huťský Lake). In Šumava there are some others connected with the Schwarzenberg Navigational Canal (i.e. Jelení Lake in the well-known Medvědí stezka - Bear Path - or Říjiště u Nová Pec).


Further information :
Polečnice Stream


© Sdružení Oficiálního informačního systému Český Krumlov, 2000
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