Poland is desertifying, hydrologists warn

Mazovia’s largest lake, Lake Zdworskie, which does not receive any water from natural sources, is drying up. Many areas of Poland have similar problems. Scientists see rescue in restoring rivers to their natural state and creating small retention reservoirs in cooperation with the. bobras.

From analysis engineeroin the environment from the School of HeadoIn addition, the Warsaw University of Life Sciences (SGGW), whichoers have been conducting hydrological studies on Zdworski Lake for the past 10 years show that for six months posummer 2016 r. with the sourceonatural resources nothing has flowed into the lake. The Great Struga River, which feeds the lake, was completely dry. The reservoir exists only because of the pipeline, whichoeach year, from several hundred thousand to more than a million meters ofoin cubic meters of water. This is just one example among manyow on the fact that Poland is desertifying.

Scientists estimate that the country’s hydrological situation will deteriorate not only due to climate change, but also due to water management that has been improperly conducted for decades. – To prevent both floods and droughts, adequate water storage is needed. This is all the more important because climate models predict that the current trend will continue – explains Dr. hab. Zbigniew Popek.

As the SGGW professor reminds, a dozen years ago average annual temperatures were slightly lower. It snowed in the winter, and the snow cover lasted a long time. The accumulatedob precipitation with poIn the winter season, they were released with the arrival of higher spring temperatures, which is just when the water begins to be absorbed by plants. Nowadays, winter rains are becoming more frequent, and the water not used by plants simply drains away.

In summer roAlso, temperatures were lower, and very intense rainfall did not occur as often. The so-called stormy precipitation is very unfavorable – excess water does not keep up with absorption into the ground and mostly runs off, often causing floods in the process. Intense rains, therefore, do not cause an increase in abundantow.

Better water management, according to Dr. hab. Popka, requires the construction of new reservoirsoin retention, whichore will store water during the winter season. – In Poland there are no topographical possibilities for building large reservoirsoIn retention, it remains the so-called. small retention. We can create small reservoirs, renaturalize wetlands and marshes. An excellent retention facility is a forest – walloThe forest canopy retains moisture very well. The State Forests have been conducting effective water management for many years, building and rehabilitating thousands of small-scaleoin retention areas – mohydrologist.

He stresses that an important role in the accumulation of resourcesoin water play rivers. The more natural they are, the better. The current of the meandering river is slower – Thus, water is retained longer in a given area. In turn, the surrounding floodplains also serve as a reservoiroin retention.

Dr. hab. Popek recommends restoration of rivers and restoration of landoin floodplains. In his opinion, even the highest flood barriers do not provide one hundred percent certainty. – Of course, no one will dismantle the dikesoin the Warsaw section of the Vistula River, but in many places it is possible – and even advisable. It is a good idea to restore rivers to as natural a state as possible – says the expert.

In his opinion, despite the construction of wastewater treatment plantsoin rivers far from good ecological status. – Clear water flowing in a regulated riverbed with concrete slope reinforcements will not result in a river in good ecological condition. A river is not just water, whichoWe can use it economically, but first and foremost it is a habitat for many species of animalsoin animals and plants – mowi dr hab. Popek. Hence the need for river restoration, whichoThe aim is to improve conditionsoin the functioning of river habitats, wetlands, but also improving the quality of usable wod through the presence of roof abundant speciesoin plants and animals.

Scientist explains that what for us is pollution, for plants is food. Plants absorb significant amounts of runoff from pol phosphorus and nitrogen. Of course, when there is too much aquatic vegetation other types of pollution appear. Excess dead matter in rivers, especially in reservoirs, causes deterioration in theod as a result of its anaerobic decomposition.

According to the expert, with proper water management it will be possible to cope with dwindling water resources even in the face of inevitable climate change. Dr hab. Popek adds that in creating the reservoiroin small retention the great allies of man are beavers.

It takes 1.6 million liters to produce 1 cubic meter of woodoin the water. To produce 1 ton of grain it takes 900,000. literoin the waters. Producing 100 liters ofoin biofuels requires as much as 20 million liters ofoin water. Annually, one person, with a daily diet of 3,000 kcal , eats food, up to whichorej production needs 1.3 million liters ofoin water, and for municipal needs each of us consumes an average of 70,000. literoin the water.

Sourceobackground: PAP – Science in Poland, fot. CC0 1.0/ Linnaea Mallette/ PublicDomainPictures