Drought affects groundwater – current hydrogeological situation in the country

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We regularly report on the hydrogeological situation in Poland in “Water Matters.” This topic is particularly relevant during the summer, as high temperatures and low rainfall, while increasing demand for water, can lead to lower groundwater levels and reduced availability for wells, springs and ecosystems.

Therefore, analysis of changes in the position of the water table is crucial to understanding the dynamics of water resources and the potential effects of this phenomenon on different areas. Such observations are important for making decisions on water resources management and maintaining the sustainability of groundwater-dependent ecosystems.

The State Hydrogeological Service reported on the current hydrogeological situation in its latest announcement.

Communication on the current hydrogeological situation

The PSH announcement was published on August 17 of this year. It addresses the hydrogeological situation for the period from July 1 to 31, 2023. and includes information on the location of the groundwater table, the status of variable reserves and the threat of hydrogeological lows in the first aquifer.

Changes in the location of the groundwater table in the first aquifer with a free table

In July of this year, a clear trend of declining groundwater levels in the first aquifer was once again observed. This month saw a decrease in the average position of the water table compared to June. It was widespread across almost the entire country and affected most of the observation points analyzed (about 91 percent). Compared to the previous month, this represents an increase of about 6 percent. The reduction in the average groundwater level ranged from 0 to 50 cm.

At the time, about 9 percent. observation points recorded an increase in average groundwater levels. They concerned sites located in areas of southern and eastern Poland and were small, usually less than 0.1 m.

Only 1 point showed no change compared to June this year.

Changes in groundwater resources

In July of this year, most observation points indicated a safe level of reserves of groundwater resources in the first aquifer. About 88 percent. points analyzed had an average level within the no-risk range, slightly (about 6 percent) less than in the previous month.

A small percentage of points (about 8 percent) were below the groundwater use risk limit, an increase of about 2 percent. compared to the previous measurement period.

Lack of reserves of groundwater resources, which means a threat to their use, was reported in several localities, such as Rogóźno (Kuyavian-Pomeranian Province), Sypniewo (Mazovian Province), Maszewko and Miechucino (Pomeranian Province), Kobułty (Warmian-Masurian Province) and Wicewo and Czaplinek (West Pomeranian Province).

Occurrence of threats to groundwater

The analysis conducted shows that a hydrogeological low persists over a significant area of the country. It occurs when the declining groundwater table exceeds low warning levels. This means that in shallow aquifers, as a result of limited rainfall recharge, the water saturation zone decreases.

West Pomeranian, Pomeranian, Kuyavian-Pomeranian and Greater Poland provinces are the most vulnerable. Compared to June, the phenomenon has spread to larger areas of the listed provinces. In addition, local problems may also arise within the borders of the provinces of Warmia-Mazury, Podlasie, Mazovia, Lodz, Lower Silesia and Silesia.

Accordingly, PSH on July 31 of this year. Updated the information on the status of hydrogeological risk associated with the occurrence and forecasting of hydrogeological lows – PSH Warning No. 6/2023, dated 31/07/2023.

The information contained in the communiqué indicates that in a situation of unfavorable meteorological conditions (rainfall deficit), a hydrogeological low may develop in the coming weeks and difficulties in capturing shallow groundwater in specific areas of the country.

Currently, a hydrogeological emergency is in effect for Pomorskie, Zachodniopomorskie, Wielkopolskie and Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Warmińsko-Mazurskie, Mazowieckie, Lubuskie and a small area in the western part of Podlaskie Voivodeship.

Low levels of the groundwater table can cause local water shortages at individual shallow farm intakes and municipal intakes exploiting the first aquifer. Nevertheless, no difficulties are expected in the coming weeks in drawing water from deeper aquifers, including those used by municipal or industrial intakes.


https://www.pgi.gov.pl/psh/psh-2/aktualna-sytuacja-hydrogeologiczna.html (accessed 21.08.2023)