The State Hydrogeological Service (PSH) is required to analyze the state of groundwater on a monthly basis, based on information obtained from more than 20,000 shots. The hydrogeological situation forecast for November predicts the possibility of a deepening of previous negative trends in some regions of the country.
Black scenario for water management
Recall that at the end of August this year. The PSH has issued a warning, with a hydrological low-level alert for as many as nine regions across the country. In Water Matters, we also wrote about a not-so-optimistic report in September, when groundwater levels fell by as much as 71 percent. measurement sites.
The current forecast of the hydrogeological situation was carried out on the basis of the latest measurements and long-term trends described within the reports of the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management and the Bulletin of the National Hydrological and Meteorological Service. The prediction is for a negative scenario in which November precipitation totals are lower than average and temperatures are not conducive to the infiltration of rainwater deep into the aquifer.
Hydrogeological low continues
The State Hydrogeological Service predicts that if the rains do not cooperate, the Pomorskie, Zachodniopomorskie, Wielkopolskie, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Warmińsko-Mazurskie, Lubuskie, Mazowieckie, Podlaskie and Dolnośląskie provinces will experience a lowering of the shallow groundwater table below the level referred to as SNO, or low warning condition, in some areas.
As a result, the hydrogeological low observed since August this year is forecast to continue at many measurement points. A particularly dramatic situation is expected in Turov in West Pomeranian Voivodeship, Lysomniczki in Pomeranian Voivodeship, Sypniewo in Mazowieckie Voivodeship, Morgowniki in Podlaskie Voivodeship and Kobułty in Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship. Everywhere there, by the end of November, groundwater levels could fall below the lowest levels observed so far.
As a reminder, let us add that changes in the position of the water table refer to the first aquifer. It is fed by precipitation and therefore reacts strongly to weather extremes and hydrological disturbances resulting from human activities. The water level in most rivers depends on this level.
Forecast of hydrogeological situation in terms of groundwater resources
Slightly more optimistic are the results of the analysis of expected changes in groundwater resources. In November, even with below-average precipitation, reserve levels across most of the country will remain at safe levels. In selected locations in the north and center, however, resources may be lower. Some areas of the West Pomeranian, Pomeranian, Warmian-Masurian, Mazovian and Podlaskie provinces may experience total depletion of reserves.
Assessment of threats to water management
November’s hydrogeological situation forecast identifies a number of threats of low water. They are expected mainly in the north and northwest of the country, especially in the area of Pomorskie, Zachodniopomorskie, Wielkopolskie, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Warmińsko-Mazurskie, but also Lubuskie, Mazowieckie, Podlaskie and Dolnośląskie. In addition, hydrogeological lows of limited extent may appear in the provinces of Łódź, Świętokrzyskie and Małopolskie.
PSH, on the basis of its analysis, decided to maintain Warning No. 7/2023 introducing a hydrogeological emergency in the aforementioned provinces. The next hydrogeological situation forecast is scheduled for the end of November this year.
What consequences can a hydrogeological low have?
As much as 90 percent. of all groundwater intakes covered by registered abstraction serve to supply the public with usable water. According to the CSO’s data in its publication “Environmental Protection 2022,” more than 70 percent. The water distributed through waterworks throughout Poland comes precisely from groundwater reserves. They are used for consumption and current household use, but also feed natural ecosystems.
PSH’s current hydrogeological situation forecast predicts that water supply difficulties are possible in areas affected by the low. They will apply only to shallow intakes, such as individual farm wells and municipal intakes that depend on the first aquifer. Groundwater intakes using deeper aquifers are not currently at risk.