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This book presents state-of-the-art knowledge concerning water quality in Poland. It offers a wide variety of cases and issues on water resource quality management. The book also presents different methods and strategies to effectively use the most advanced water resource quality problems such as water pollution, whether physical, chemical, or biological, of surface water resources and groundwater resources.

The authors pay exceptional attention to water quality monitoring in agricultural, urban catchments, and water reservoirs. More light into the water quality is required to assess water's physicochemical status accurately and plan suitable protection actions against recognized threats.

This book addresses the needs of professional engineers, researchers, policy planners, decision-makers, stakeholders, and anyone looking to learn more about the quality situation of water resources in Poland and other similar countries and regions.





Chapter 1. Introduction to the “Quality of Water Resources in Poland”

This chapter presents the main features of the book “Quality of Water Resources in Poland” and related current problems and research topics implemented by scientists dealing with water resources in Poland. The discussed research issues were divided into 5 thematic blocks. These are: Introduction (part I), Key Issues of Water Resources Protection in Poland (part II), Water Quality Evaluation (part III), Water and Wastewater in Urban Areas (part IV) and Conclusions (part V). The main technical elements of each chapter are presented under the appropriate topic.
Katarzyna Kubiak-Wójcicka, Martina Zelenakova, Abdelazim M. Negm

Key Issues of Water Resources Protection in Poland


Chapter 2. Assessment of Water Resources in Poland

The paper analyzes the size of water resources in Poland, which are among the lowest in Europe. Water resources are very variable, both temporally and spatially, which results from the temporally and spatially variable distribution of atmospheric precipitation, whose course is random. The average annual total outflow from Poland in the years 1951–2015 was about 61 km3, ranging from 37.5 km3 in 1954 to 89.9 km3 in 1981. The average unit outflow from the years 1951–2015 was 5.4 dm3/s·km2 in the Vistula basin, and 4.7 dm3/s·km2 in the Oder basin. One way to reduce excesses and deficits of water may be to undertake small-retention reservoir projects within agricultural catchments and in urban areas. Such works have been implemented in Poland as part of a small-retention programme by Lasy Państwowe (State Forest Holding) in mountainous and lowland areas. A separate problem related to the use of water resources is the level of water intake and consumption by various sectors of the national economy. The reduction of water consumption can be achieved in various ways. One of the simplest, but also the most severe for all users, is to increase the price of water. However, the most practical solution is to invest in the most modern water recovery and reuse technology in industrial plants, agriculture, and newly built residential buildings. Nowadays, technical solutions using rainwater in single-family houses are becoming increasingly popular in Poland. This water is most often used for watering gardens. However, there is little interest in the construction of purification and reuse systems for previously used water (“grey water”), mainly due to high installation costs. Grey water recycling or rainwater management not only significantly reduces operating costs, but also has tangible environmental benefits.
Katarzyna Kubiak-Wójcicka

Chapter 3. Development and Protection of Water Resources in Protected Areas in Poland in Pursuit of Sustainable Development

In order to protect and shape the geographic environment, and this includes water environments, it is necessary to maintain as many as possible areas characterized by harmonious evolution and high landscape value. This is especially true of environmentally valuable areas viewed as equivalent to areas protected by law. When planning and designing environmental protection efforts, it is necessary to identify the relevant water balance relationships in the target area. Water plays a leading role, as it strongly affects other living and non-living elements of the natural environment and remains dependent on some of them. This prompts the following question: Is it possible to both develop and protect water resources in the context of sustainable growth in geographic areas protected by law? The study area, in this case, consists of national parks—areas which provide the highest level of legal protection to the natural environment in Poland. The current study focuses on lakes found in national parks, as these are the least stable and most susceptible sites in terms of environmental change in the geographic domain. The best way to maintain environmentally valuable areas is to grant them legal status based on environmental protection goals. However, not all environmentally valuable areas are legally protected or can be legally protected. In addition, the low effectiveness of many forms of environmental protection, especially lower level protected status, shows that only local forms of protection are highly effective. A local spatial management plan is needed in order to protect unique areas. Most commune strategic documents list main tasks that include the protection of the natural environment, utilization of tourist attractions and natural resources, maintenance of biodiversity and its the impact on it, and protection of environmentally valuable areas and sites. Hence, it is important to motivate local government officials to take responsibility for locally valuable areas in the form of local laws or local spatial management plans. In summary, national parks in Poland are characterized by different water availability. Some are dominated by water balance issues, while others are not. This is why each park needs to have a unique protection strategy. This is due to differences in water availability and threats that may affect each given national park. Despite these differences, it is necessary to pursue sustainable development whose overall goal is to protect the natural environment including its water areas in a way that allows both social and economic targets to be achieved.
Roman Cieśliński

Chapter 4. Anthropogenic Water Reservoirs in Poland

Anthropogenic water bodies play an increasingly important role in the development of water resources. In 2018, there were 50 water bodies in Poland with capacities greater than 10 hm3 (mln m3) each. Their total retention capacity is slightly more than 3.7 km3, and their total area is 530 km2. Among artificial bodies of water, the following types are most often distinguished: reservoirs impounded by dams, flooded mineral workings, levee ponds, water bodies formed in subsidence basins and hollows, artificial pools and industrial ponds (for some bodies of water, multiple origins can be indicated). Water bodies in Poland function in quasi-natural areas as well as under conditions of varied agricultural or urban-industrial human pressure. Their environment determines the course of limnic processes which are characteristic of lentic waters, e.g. water circulation, water level fluctuations, thermal processes, oxygen conditions, ice phenomena, changes in water fertility, salinity levels and others. Artificial water bodies in Poland mostly serve numerous functions despite the many environmental protection problems related to the lentic water environment, e.g. eutrophication, salinisation. Together with their immediate surroundings, they fulfil important natural and landscape roles. Storage reservoirs are used primarily for economic purposes such as water supply, flood protection, recreation and tourism, the breeding of fish and other aquatic organisms, energy production, inland transport, the extraction of mineral resources, etc.
Mariusz Rzętała

Chapter 5. Irrigation and Drainage in Polish Agriculture: State, Problems and Needs

The paper discusses the conditions as well as the current status, techniques, trends and perspectives of irrigation and drainage in agriculture sector of Poland. Irrigation and drainage infrastructure was found to be in poor condition over the whole country. Moreover, the secondary melioration equipment is maintained on less than half of the meliorated area of agricultural land. It is also stressed that economic situation and lack of sufficient funds by farmers, farmer associations and responsible, local government units became main reasons for the negligence of proper use of water management systems. In particular, sufficient maintenance of irrigation/drainage systems has been abandoned, restricting possibilities of controlled water table management. It is a fact, that the interest in the utilization of water facilities has gradually decreased. For these reasons, it was discussed in this paper, that irrigation and drainage systems should be rebuilt and improved for better control of the outflow of water. Another goal, that was deeply analysed, is to create favourable conditions for water retention and finally more effective water management in agricultural lands. Different actions should be taken to stimulate the development of irrigation and drainage, to adapt the existing systems to extreme meteorological events resulting from climate change, to enhance their operation and management.
Leszek Łabędzki, Edmund Kaca, Andrzej Brandyk

Water Quality Evaluation


Chapter 6. Quality Assessment of Water Resources of River in Poland

The chapter presents an assessment of water quality in Polish rivers as examined in 2010–2015 under the State Environmental Monitoring Programme. Using selected averaged physicochemical indicator values, an analysis was made of the spatial variability of mineral pollution (SEC, Total hardness), organic pollution (BOD5, TOC) and biogenic pollution (TN and TP) in the rivers of the catchments and subcatchments of the Vistula, the Odra, and the Baltic Sea. Graded indexation of six quality characteristics (SEC, Total hardness, BOD5, TOC, TN, TP) characterising particular types of pollution has shown that there are rivers with high levels of pollution in catchments in Wielkopolska, Kujawia and Górny Śląsk. There are very low and low levels of pollution in mountain and foothill rivers of the Carpathians and Sudetes, and in the Pomorze region of northern Poland. The longest rivers in Poland (the Vistula and the Oder) and their main tributaries have different water qualities that vary along their courses. Due to heavily mineralised drainage waters from bituminous coal mines in Górny Śląsk, the upper sections of the Vistula and Odra exceed norms in terms of mineral substances, in particular, chloride and sulphate ions. In over 63% of river Surface Water Bodies (SWBs) surveyed in 2010–2015 in Poland, the quality of water in terms of physicochemical characteristics correspond to class I and II standards according to the Water Framework Directive in force in Poland. The physicochemical state of the rivers does not correlate with their biological state. Only 36% of the surveyed river SWBs met the class I and II standards for biological elements. In terms of physicochemical and biological water quality, only 28% of the analysed Polish river SWBs are classified as being in a good or very good ecological state in 2010–2015.
Adam Solarczyk

Chapter 7. Water Quality in Main Dam Reservoirs in Poland

This chapter presents the analysis of data on water quality for 22 selected dam reservoirs in Poland. The conditions of water quality have been described based on available data. The characteristics of physical, chemical, and biological parameters have been presented, and ecological status, chemical status, and the overall status of reservoirs was assessed. As a result, good ecological status was established for 13 reservoirs and good chemical status for 8 reservoirs. However, the overall classification points to good water quality of only 6 dam reservoirs located in the Carpathians, in upper sections of rivers. Other studied reservoirs have a bad quality of water. The possibilities of modern continuous monitoring on one of the dam reservoirs have also been presented.
Damian Absalon, Magdalena Matysik, Michał Habel

Chapter 8. Water Quality and Ecosystem Modelling: Practical Application on Lakes and Reservoirs

Impacts of anthropogenic and other pressures on lakes and reservoirs are often a subject of detailed analyses, which can be aimed, e.g. to identify causes of the water quality deterioration or changes in ecosystems and to predict effects of projects likely to have significant effects on the environment. Since the mid-nineteenth century, such analyses were increasingly supported by an application of mathematical models, which are nowadays capable of 3-dimensional, high-resolution simulation of complex interactions in water bodies, including fluid dynamics, heat transfer and biogeochemical reactions. Mathematical models, until recently perceived as an innovative approach or a good practice, quickly became a legally required element of water management procedures. This chapter presents five examples of the application of aquatic ecosystem models in Poland. Applications were selected in such a way, as to represent various case studies differentiated not only by characteristics of the water body and its catchment area but also by the goal of the model application. Examples include reservoirs with the surface area ranging from 0.1 to 32 km2 and catchment areas ranging from 13 to more than 500 km2. Presented applications were either a part of research projects or studies commissioned by local authorities. Aims of presented studies include among others a presentation of real-time status of the water body, analyses of impacts of reservoir and catchment management scenarios, an evaluation of the recreational potential, an evaluation of planned remedial measures and support to the state environmental monitoring system.
Rafał Ulańczyk, Bartosz Łozowski, Andrzej Woźnica, Damian Absalon, Agnieszka Kolada

Chapter 9. Assessment of Pollution of Water Resources and Process of Pollution Spreading

Excessive fertilization of surface waters is an extremely important problem in their protection. Urbanization, industrialization, intensive agricultural production in the catchment area, as well as significant development of tourism, in the absence of effective methods of lake protection, affect their high nutrient loads. Therefore, in recent decades we have observed rapid eutrophication of lakes. The multidimensional importance of lakes (e.g. natural, economic) is indisputable, hence the need to protect them. The paper presents the results of long-term studies enabling to trace the changes taking place in the lakes of West Pomerania. The susceptibility of the studied lakes to degradation was assessed, as well as the role of the catchment area in this process. Analyzing the ecological systems of the catchment—lake, the intensity of eutrophication of each reservoir was determined; trophy level of the examined lakes was assessed. It was found that farming is the basic source of biogens for the studied waters, and the degradation of water resources under the influence of agricultural area pollution is a fundamental problem for their protection. The results of lake research clearly indicate the need to develop plans for their protection, which should include examining 7–8 times each year of each water body, which will allow to determine the functioning of lake ecosystems and take appropriate protection measures.
Jacek Kubiak, Sylwia Machula

Chapter 10. Ingression and Ascension of Saline Waters on the Polish Coast of the Baltic Sea

The sea coast zone of the Southern Baltic Sea is one of the regions in which the risk assessment of both fresh groundwater resources and intake of admissible volumes, defined as a maximum safe yield, is a complex problem, requiring a separate methodological approach. This results from the coexistence of two hydrogeochemical environments—fresh and saline waters and fluctuations of a border surface between the saline (sea) and freshwater. Salt and brackish waters that occur along the coastal Baltic lowlands in Poland originate from the seawater intrusion or brines ascending from the deep Mesozoic strata. The study area covers the Polish part of the southern Baltic coast from Uznam Island to the Vistula Lagoon. These areas are located in different geological units and different hydrogeological regions. The problem of groundwater salinity is presented for the following areas: islands, sandspits, coastal lowlands, cliff coasts, and the Vistula delta (Żuławy).
Arkadiusz Krawiec

Chapter 11. Monitoring of Groundwater Quality in Poland

Monitoring of the groundwater quality in Poland is conducted by the representatives of the Polish Geological Institute—National Research Institute acting as Polish Hydrological Survey. The obligation to conduct the ongoing monitoring, both qualitative and quantitative, was imposed on all Member States of the European Union by the regulations of the Water Framework Directive. The specific scope of such operations is specified in the Ordinance of the Minister of Environment from November 15, 2011, regarding the forms and methods of conducting the monitoring of surface water and groundwater bodies (Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland, 2011, No. 258, Item 1550). Within the framework of this publication the chemical properties of groundwater of the Quaternary, Palaeogene and Neogene, Cretaceous and Jurassic aquifers on a regional and point basis have been presented. Additionally, due to the size of the chapter, the assessment of the chemical properties of groundwater in Poland in the last five years has been conducted only for selected observation wells and springs. The source material has been provided by the results of chemical analyses published in Hydrogeological Annuals between 2013–2017. The main selection criterion for the assessment of changes was the completeness of the data, the aquifer mentioned in the sources as well as the location of the observation point.
Izabela Jamorska

Chapter 12. Sediment Management in River Basins: An Essential Element of the River Basin Management Plans

The Vistula River and the Oder River drain about 18% of the Baltic Sea Basin and drain 97.9% of the territory of Poland. This river basins serve as an example to show the kind of data, modelling, and analysis tools that are required for a qualitative and quantitative description of sediment dynamics. These methods are used to investigate sediment management options. First, a brief overview of the sediments types transported by Vistula and Oder and their tributaries is presented, anthropogenic impacts on sediment transport, followed by a description of the current methods of monitoring and modelling system used in this study. Lastly, the article looks at specific methods applications for sediment management tasks.
Michał Habel, Dawid Szatten, Zygmunt Babiński, Grzegorz Nadolny

Chapter 13. Environmental and Anthropogenic Determinants of Water Chemistry in the Carpathians

The most important natural and anthropogenic factors affecting stream water and groundwater chemistry in the Carpathians were identified mainly on the basis of hydrochemical case studies from numerous small headwater Carpathian catchments. The most important natural factor determining water chemistry in the Carpathians is geology. In areas formed of poorly soluble granite and gneiss rocks (crystalline portion of the Tatra Mountains), the total dissolved solids (TDS) and concentration of main cations and anions are many times lower than that in areas formed of highly soluble carbonate rocks (sedimentary portion of the Tatra Mountains, Pieniny Mountains) and also clastic rocks forming so-called Carpathian flysch (Beskidy Mountains, Carpathian Foothills). Stream water and spring water chemistry in the Carpathians change primarily due to hydrologic factors—changes in discharge. As discharge increases, TDS declines and the concentrations of most main ions also decline, while the concentration of K+, NO3, and PO43− increases. Elevation and geographic location of springs and streams in given climate zone and vegetation zone are additional natural factors affecting water chemistry, and this is particularly true of SO42− and Cl concentration as well as pH. Anthropogenic factors affecting water chemistry in the Carpathians include acid rain, deforestation, agriculture, and tourist-generated wastewater. The effects of acid rain are felt in the form of low concentrations of main cations in stream and spring water in the western part of the Carpathians. This region was affected by very high acidic sulfur and nitrogen deposition in the second half of the twentieth century. Deforestation in the Carpathians impacts mainly spruce monocultures declining due to acid rain, strong winds, and bark beetle infestation, and is the main cause of increasing NO3 concentrations in stream water and spring water. Agricultural land use does not threaten stream water and groundwater due to low usage of mineral fertilizer. Threats that do exist are associated with unregulated releases of wastewater in rural areas. Wastewater generated by tourists is a major threat to stream water quality in areas with a high environmental value that are highly popular with tourists. Tourist lodges release wastewater into Carpathian streams leading to excess nitrogen and phosphorus concentration in stream water.
Joanna P. Siwek

Chapter 14. Surface Water Eutrophication in Poland: Assessment and Prevention

Presently the process of aquatic ecosystems transformation is much faster than before, because it is determined not so much by natural causes but mostly by anthropogenic factors. Anthropogenic eutrophication belongs to global processes which development has intensified significantly in recent decades and now affects all types of surface waters in many countries, leading to the disturbance of ecological balance and deterioration of water quality. In order to ensure the ecological safety of surface waters it is necessary to elaborate the reliable comprehensive abatement strategy based on appropriate system of eutrophication monitoring and assessment and the reduction of biogenic loads from all the sources. The paper presents the essence of eutrophication process, analysis of methodological problems of trophic state assessment and the assessment methodology based on simple and low-cost indicators which ensures the continuous eutrophication monitoring and control. The development of eutrophication of surface water in Poland and the principles of its prevention and management are also presented.
Elena Neverova-Dziopak

Chapter 15. Monitoring of Small Catchments in Poland Under the Integrated Environmental Monitoring Programme: The Functioning of the Struga Toruńska River Agricultural Catchment

This chapter analyses the functioning of the agricultural catchment area of the Struga Toruńska river (Central Poland). The observations were carried out as part of the Integrated Environmental Monitoring Programme in the years 1994–2017. A considerable increase in air temperature (0.48 °C/10 years) was found along with variability in precipitation totals (413.0–762.0 mm). Meteorological conditions contributed to substantial variability in water stages and flow rates in the river. The mean annual flow rate at Koniczynka ranged from 0.10 to 1.04 m3s−1 (0.55 m3s−1 on average). An average of 175 mm of water was drained from the catchment (32% of the precipitation). The specific runoff was 5.60 dm3s−1 km−2, which was similar to typical values observed in the Polish lowlands. The river regime is nival and moderately developed (the spring flow accounted for 166% of the mean monthly value). Extensive farming affects the quality of water in the Struga Toruńska. Increased concentrations of biogenic substances, mineral substances, and suspended matter were found in the agricultural catchment area, in particular after spring thaw when surface flushing increases. These substances are increasingly transported by a dense drainage network. In the summer, the biogenic content falls due to increased vegetation processes. The value of BOD5 also increases, and aerobic conditions decline. The catchment of the Struga Toruńska is considered an area at particular risk of pollution by nitrogen from agricultural sources.
Marek Kejna, Ireneusz Sobota, Joanna Uscka-Kowalkowska, Henryka Wojtczak

Water and Wastewater in Urban Areas


Chapter 16. The State of Water and Sewage Management in Poland

This chapter describes the state of water and wastewater management in Poland in the years 1999–2015. The study presents the state of Poland’s water resources, the structure of their use and the amount of financial outlays allocated to water and sewage management. The analysis was based on statistical data obtained from the Central Statistical Office (GUS). The basic infrastructure related to water and sewage management is the water supply and sewerage network together with sewage treatment plants. The results of the analysis show that availability of water and sewerage infrastructure has significantly improved in recent years, however, in some provinces it is still not sufficient. Major changes in the financing of water and wastewater management resulted from Poland’s accession to the European Union which increased the possibility of financing activities that led to the improvement of wastewater treatment.
Katarzyna Kubiak-Wójcicka, Monika Kielik

Chapter 17. Water Problems in Urban Areas

The chapter presents selected issues of the water environment of Polish cities. Attention is drawn to the causes of periodic excess of rainwater and surface runoff, with particular emphasis on sealed areas. The influence of these areas on the shaping of dynamics and the size of flood waves, and on flood risks as a consequence is demonstrated. The occurrence of floods of various genesis (precipitation, snow thawing, ice jams, frazil ice, sea storms, caused by failures of damming facilities) is discussed. The importance of small streams in the geoecosystem of a city with regard to their functioning and management is presented. The importance of surface water (including lakes and water reservoirs) in the land use structure and their use, mainly for recreational purposes (bathing areas) is presented. The issues of groundwater are also outlined along with the determination of selected threats to their quality. The structure of water usage in Polish cities in the years 1989–2016 is characterized in spatial terms. The importance of the human-water environment interaction with the maintenance of the sustainable development of the city in terms of ensuring the safety of its inhabitants is referred to. On the example of selected cities, a series of activities of an administrative, technical and pro-ecological nature are presented. These have a spatial and socio-economic dimension, anchored in the European and Polish legal system.
Tadeusz Ciupa, Roman Suligowski

Chapter 18. The Multidimensional Aspect of Water Resources Management in Metropolitan Areas (a Case Study of the Poznań Metropolis)

Metropolitan areas are characterised by a high density of population, which implies increasing problems related to the development and functioning of the urbanised area. These include problems concerning water supply, the use and protection of water resources, the collection and purification of wastewater and sewage, and also the protection of citizens from extraordinary hydrological and climatic phenomena. The implementation of water management goals in harmony with environmental protection objectives is known to evoke negative phenomena and strong conflicts. A characteristic feature of metropolitan areas is the continuous transformation instigated by a multitude of factors—political, economic and demographic, but also technological and environmental. The need of achieving a number of goals in the same area implies their necessary integration and the implementation of appropriate strategies, concepts and models or programs which make it possible to take correct decisions and realise planned tasks. It is in this specific regard that the model of integrated management of water resources, the concept of iterative and multilevel e-governance, and the so-called “catchment area” management concept have been presented and discussed. Moreover, consideration was given to the problem of limiting anthropogenic pressure with reference to the protection of disposable resources (mainly useful aquifers), of the quality of waters as regards reducing the risk of non-attainment of environmental objectives, and of the integrated minimisation of flood risk on the example of the Poznań metropolis. The analysis was performed in the context of the EU Water Framework Directive, river basin management plans, and flood risk management plans. The multidimensional nature of water resources management in a metropolitan area was considered in its spatial, functional, ecological and social aspects as an activity that includes the planning, development, distribution and optimisation of usage of water resources.
Renata Graf, Krzysztof Pyszny



Chapter 19. Updates, Conclusions, and Recommendations for “Quality of Water Resources in Poland”

This volume discusses current problems and research topics carried out by scientists dealing with the state and quality of water resources in Poland. Based on many years of research conducted by authors from various scientific centers from all over Poland, the main conclusions and recommendations are presented, which are included in the chapters presented in the book. First, the general state of surface and underground water resources, their quality and possibilities of water resources protection were discussed. Then, the book focuses on water quality and its changes as a result of natural and anthropogenic factors. The next part of the study is devoted to water and sewage infrastructure and water management in urban areas. This volume highlights the problems of sustainable use of water resources for the needs of human activities.
Katarzyna Kubiak-Wójcicka, Martina Zelenakova, Abdelazim M. Negm
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