Is Poland’s drought threatening its water supply?

susza w polsce

In the previous issue of Water Issues, we published hydrogeological information on the predicted drought – Current hydrogeological situation in the country. It concludes, “The drought in Poland is worsening and can affect any of us.” In May, a decrease in the average water level was observed at most measurement points (69%). According to the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management, there are regions in Poland where the drought is already underway. This condition affects large areas of the West Pomeranian and Warmian-Masurian provinces.

So we asked at water utilities that supply water to residents in various parts of Poland whether the drought is affecting their operations. We asked for information on the phenomenon in previous years and in the current year. We were most interested in:

  • Water limitation events;
  • situations in which the plant was forced to restrict water supply to network users (time of occurrence, period, number of users with restrictions);
  • The company’s losses caused by the drought in Poland.

Drought in Poland from the point of view of selected water utilities

Lodz Waterworks, which lies on the Vistula-Odra watershed and draws its water exclusively from underground intakes, responded very quickly. Spokesman for the Water and Sewerage Plant in Lodz Milosz Wika wrote, “Lodz gets its water from deep wells. Periodic droughts do not affect residents’ water supply.”

Szczecin Waterworks, the one supplying water to residents of the drought-prone West Pomeranian region, responded: “ZWiK is not affected.”

Spokeswoman Hanna Pieczynska, meanwhile, pointed to the problem of extreme torrential rains: “We have taken the first big step in counteracting the effects of torrential rains. In the next six months, a technical and cost concept for rainwater and snowmelt management in Szczecin will be developed. ZWiK has signed a contract with a contractor to prepare a comprehensive document. The idea is to pinpoint the exact location of the problem, its cause and find a solution to manage the water in an optimal and modern way. There are nearly 50,000 drains in Szczecin, which perform an important function at any time of the year, but are increasingly important in summer, when they must drain very large amounts of water flowing down sidewalks and streets after heavy rainfall.”

A spokesman for the Waterworks of the City of Krakow S.A. indicated that “they draw water from four intakes operating from surface water. In recent years, we have not recorded a situation where, as a result of a reduction in water resources, there would be problems with water supply for residents of Krakow or municipalities that are supplied from the Krakow water supply system. This year, the level of Krakow’s rivers (Dłubnia, Rudawa, Sanka) remains at an average level. Also on the Dobczycki Reservoir we do not observe a significant decrease in water levels. It can be concluded that for the time being we are not experiencing a drought phenomenon in Krakow’s water supply system.”

The above information shows that large water utilities, which also have urban rainwater drainage as part of their scope of operations, are not threatened by the drought in Poland at this time. Instead, the problem is the excess rainwater resulting from torrential rains, and it is this that they are now working most intensively to solve.

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