The first best practice implemented in the frame of the LIFE-MICACC project in Hungary
Bátya is a small village with 2239 inhabitants and an area of 3386 km2, next to the river Danube. The average annual local precipitation is 550 mm, while in 2010 the local gauging station observed 1000 mm. Extreme rain events cause damage to agriculture, infrastructure (roads, sewage system) and residential and public buildings. On the other hand, the evaporation is also high, and the region is exposed to droughts
The estimated local evapotranspiration can reach 850 mm/year. Consequently, the balance between the annual precipitation and the estimated evapotranspiration is negative: 300 mm/year. As much of the Hungarian Great Plain (5 million hectares, home to 3 million people) faces the same climate and water risks, it is important to find and demonstrate how municipalities can use ecosystem-based adaptation to bridge this broken balance in the small water cycle.
As Bátya is situated next to the Danube, the geomorphological characteristics of its environment are typical of the alluvial fan of the river. It includes natural depressions (marshlands, swamps, lakes, wetlands, oxbows etc., the attached historical and contemporary topographic maps show them.) that have partly disappeared and transformed through natural or anthropogenic processes.
A typical asset that was developed naturally and transformed by anthropogenic processes is the ’clay pit’, where local communities have sourced building materials for houses, public buildings or dykes. Almost every settlement has their own clay-pit system in their outer areas, and most of them are owned by the respective municipalities. Currently, most of them are not managed but left for illegal waste disposal.
Nevertheless, clay pits are very important semi-natural assets that local municipalities should recognise and use for local climate change adaptation.
Bátya has identified these local assets and aims to implement a prototype NWRM to enhance local clay pits and use them to reduce local vulnerability. This will allow the project to demonstrate how other local municipalities can turn these seemingly useless lands to an advantage.
The key purpose of integrating local clay pits into climate change adaptation is to collect and retain rainwater in extreme rainfall events while ensuring the infiltration of the retained rainwater to recharge groundwater during heatwaves and drought periods. Besides, this restored and expanded clay pit will serve as a freshwater habitat (for water birds, fish, and amphibians) and a buffer zone around the settlement, improving the local climate through evaporation.