The River Tisa
4% of the total area of the Municipality of Bečej consists of watercourses. The most important of all is certainly the river Tisa which forms the eastern border of the municipality 23 km in length, which represents 14.02% of its course in the territory of Vojvodina.
The river Tisa on the territory of Bečej Municipality is rich in 22 species of fish from 7 families. The most numerous are Cyprinidae (the carp family 14 species) and Percidae (the perch family 3 species). The fish that should be mentioned as interesting for fishing tourism are the families Siluridae (catfish) and Esocidae (pike), which have one species each. A definite contribution to the richness of the river is the existence of the ancient water flower insect – “Tiski cvet” (The Flower of Tisa), which appeared again in 2000, after long time. Since then it has been present on the river in the second half of June.
The river Tisa (Hungarian: Tisza) is the biggest tributary of the river Danube. It flows through the Panonian lowlands. Its spring is in Ukraine, in the area of Bukovina, and after that flows through Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Serbia. It empties into the Danube opposite Stari Slankamen. The river Tisa is formed by joining of the Black and White Tisa.
The length of Tisa is 1,358 km, and the watershed area is 157,186 m². In Vojvodina Tisa divides Bačka (the right bank) and Banat (the left bank).
The biggest tributaries are Begej, Bodrog, Zlatica, Moriš (the biggest), Samoš and Šajo.
The navigable part of Tisa is 532 km in length.
The Bačka Canal connects Tisa with Danube and Begej Canal with Tamiš.
The towns of importance on Tisa are: Tokaj, Solnok, Čongrad, Segedin, Senta and Bečej.
In the mountain part of the course, Tisa is a rapid and clear river. The effect of the lack of lakes in the area of Carpathian Mountains is that the water level of Tisa is very variable, with typically three flood periods. If the water level of Tisa matches the one in Danube, Tisa will start flowing upstream, which causes great floods. Such a situation devastated Segedin in spring 1879.
Between 1846 and 1880, the Hungarian authorities organized the regulation of the Tisa course (Hungarian: a Tisza szabályozása) and shortened its length by 450 km. The built flood protection system is the biggest in Europe. Today there are 3680 km of canals that control Tisa.
During 1980s a large artificial lake was made on Tisa (Hungarian: Tisza-tó) with the intention to help the regulation of course and especially floods. Soon this lake became a popular tourist destination of Hungarians, almost like the lake Balaton.
Tisa is navigable in the larger part of its course. The river has been opened for the international navigation just recently. Before that Hungary made the distinction between so called “state rivers” and “international rivers”, by which it was determined whether a navigation was allowed or not. After Hungary joined the EU this regulation was abolished and all vessels are allowed to navigate on Tisa.
The possibility of navigation is often determined by natural factors. In the period of high water level and flood the river is most often not navigable.
The Danube-Tisa-Danube Canal is a unitary system of anti-flood canals and they also serve for the irrigation of the land; also it is a navigation course and it is used for waste water, for tourism, hunting and fishing. It is a system of canals which spread over about 12,700 km2, between the rivers Danube and Tisa, in Bačka and Banat, within the territory of Vojvodina. The total length of canals is 929 km, including new and old canals and tributaries which were completely or partly restored and integrated in the canal system. In the network of canals there are 51 objects – 24 gates, 16 locks, 5 safety gates, 6 pumps as well as 180 bridges. This network enables the drainage of about 700,000 ha of land and the irrigation of 50,000 ha. The canal is navigable for 664 km. There are 14 ports for loading and unloading of cargo in the system of canals.
From 1958 to 1976 a reconstruction was done, as well as new canals made in the existing system which was made back in the period of Austria-Hungary. In that period 84 bridges were built – 62 for vehicles, 19 for trains and three for pedestrians. One of the most important objects on the canal is the dam near Novi Bečej on Tisa, which regulates the water level and irrigates about 300,000 ha of land in the main canal in Banat.
Bečej and Tisa
After the regulation of Tisa and building of the embankment for the protection from floods, Bečej was connected to the canal of Franc Jozef in 1889. The crown of the connection of the Canal and Tisa represents the lock, that is “šlajz”. The building of the canal from Bačko Gradište to Bečej, as well as “šlajz” (the lock) itself, was performed according to the projects and blueprints of Albert Hajnc. Up to 1945 the lock was the main attraction whose impressiveness drew the attention of all passersby and tourist in Bečej.
At the end of the twenties of the XX century the inhabitants of Bečej got two floating baths. The owner was a joint-stock company which was run by Milan Popović and the owners of the joint-stock company had their permanent cabin. These baths, with their sunbathing platforms, rental boats, were the cornerstone of the social life in the town in summer. Today as well, during the summer, Bečej lives on the river bank, there are cafes, restaurants and fishmonger's in the camp estate. The baths were replaced by the rafts that enabled easier approach to the water. After the World War I smaller ships sailed between two towns named Bečej. The best known was the passenger ship “Stari Bečej” which sank in 1931.