Protection of intakes – risk analyses

Ochrona ujęć

In the article “Strict protection of intakes, or what’s behind the fence,” we promised to check how many water supply companies have submitted risk analysis documents to the governors and how many protection zones have already been established. According to the law, by the end of 2022. All owners of water intakes for the purpose of public water supply were to conduct a risk analysis, according to Art. 133 of the Water Law, and forward it to the competent authority. Document submitted to the governor by December 31, 2022. is to be the basis for further establishment of the protection zone. We therefore requested information on the number of analyses submitted and information on the number of protection zones established on this basis.

The inquiry addressed to the governors sought information on:

  • The number of risk analyses submitted (for surface water and groundwater combined);
  • the number of water intake protection zones already established;
  • the amount of risk analysis, which shows that there is no need to establish a protection zone that includes a direct protection area and an indirect protection area.

Most provincial offices responded to the inquiry. The results of the survey are presented below:

Provincial OfficeNumber of risk analyses submitted (total for surface and groundwater)Number of water intake protection zones already establishedNumber of risk analyses that show that there is no need to establish a protection zone that includes a direct protection area and an indirect protection area
Pomeranianlack of datalack of datalack of data
Podlaski2251220
West Pomeranian547251
Kujawsko-Pomorski4146385
Greater Poland73012516
Warmian-Masurian4303407
Mazovia8133741
Lubuski3787321
Lodz5252506
Swietokrzyski2372211
Lublin45013437
Podkarpacki3721337
Malopolska76010741
Silesian2566223
Opolski123094
Lower Silesialack of datalack of datalack of data
Source: own compilation based on data obtained from provincial offices

The number of submitted risk analyses is really high. A total of 6260 documents were submitted by water supply companies and intake owners, of which 5190 confirmed the lack of need for protective zones. They were established for only 68 shots. In most cases, they involved groundwater intakes.

Other risk analyses are still subject to review by the service. Also, the final number of protection zones established under them may change. Currently, according to the information provided, 76% are not required to protect intakes.

Protection of intakes – consequences of its absence

The lack of need to establish zones can be interpreted as the owner’s assurance that the water quality of the intake is safe and properly protected. It is also information about the needlessness of interfering with land use and introducing restrictions on its use. Above all, however, it should be remembered that the lack of a regulation on the establishment of a protection zone is a lack of influence over what happens around the intake and in its immediate catchment area.

If we have so many intakes that defend themselves, why do we often hear about periodic closures of intakes due to pollution during the summer low season? Is the principle of prevention better than cure in this case unprofitable? Or is there still a lack of awareness and knowledge about the possibilities of protecting the intake from the negative impact of human activity?

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