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Central Europe's dam, hydropower project operators coping with floods

Prague Flood

Utilities are being forced to shutter their hydropower projects and dams are proving ineffective as central Europe has been facing its worst flooding in decades.

News sources report that waters in the Vitava River, which runs through the Czech capital, Prague, have been flowing at 2,800 cubic meters of water per second -- 10 times their average volume.

The flooding caused Czech utility CEZ a.s. to open gates at the nine plants that comprise its Vitava Cascade project on Monday, alleviating some of the threat in Prague but causing areas further downstream to brace for even more water.

Meanwhile, flood water to the south have forced Austrian utility Verbund to close the Ybbs-Persenbeug, Meik, Greifenstein and Vienna-Freudenau hydropower projects -- all of which are located along the Danube River.

Meteorologists say the worst should be over for Austria and the Czech Republic, but that Slovakia, Hungary and Germany will all be affected in the coming days.

The floods are being compared to a similar disaster in 2002, which caused US$26 billion in damage.

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