On June 17, we celebrate World Anti-Desertification and Drought Day. The purpose of the celebrations is to draw attention to ways to prevent these phenomena.
Although the hydrological conditions in our country have improved at present, the situation may change, because the precipitation so far has not sufficiently replenished the water deficit in the environment that was caused by last year's drought. Currently, soil moisture has clearly increased in Kujawy, Podlasie and the Lublin region. On the other hand, the bad situation still prevails in parts of the West Pomeranian, Lubuskie and Łódź Voivodships. That is why counteracting the effects of drought, including rainwater accumulation, is important in our country every day of the year.A soil moisture map at a depth of 7-28 cm locally still indicates a water deficit. Source: www.stopsuszy.imgw.pl
The observed climate changes intensified the incidence of extreme phenomena, including drought. In recent years, the problems related to the effects of drought affect almost every one of us. The Stop Drought! Project, among which the most important part being developed is the Drought Prevention Plan (PPSS), which counteracts this trend. Counteracting the effects of drought is one of the priority actions of the Polish Water Farm, because our country is one of the poorest water resources in the entire European Union.
Europe, but also Wielkopolska, Pomerania and Kujawa
At first, thinking of draining or desertification, we think of African countries. However, our part of the world also experiences these adverse phenomena. This mainly applies to countries along the northern Mediterranean coast and the Black Sea and manifests itself in becoming steppe. Although this phenomenon is far from desertification, however since the 1930s it has been used to define the processes that lead to it. In Poland, Wielkopolska and Kujawa were generally considered to be the area predisposed to drought. The assessment of the drought phenomenon during 1987-2018 indicates though, that it is not only there that the drought problem is severe. According to the analyzes conducted, as much as 55.64% of our country is within the high degree of drought risk. Areas with the highest, extreme levels of danger cover nearly 5% of the country. Areas assessed as being highly endangered by drought include parts of Western Pomerania, Greater Poland, Kujawa, the Silesian Lowland, the Małopolska Upland and Wyżyna Lubelska, the Wysoczyzna Łódzka, Masovia, Polesie and Podlasie.Map of agricultural drought hazard classes from the period: 1997-2018 r. Source: Drought Prevention Plan (PPSS)
Is Poland desertifying?
The experts warn: despite the fact that we are far from developing real desert areas in Poland, the situation is serious and the above-mentioned areas may undergo the process of becoming steppe. This phenomena is conducive by climate changes, especially the change in the structure of precipitation. Currently, we are observing more frequent rainstorm rains, when during a day the total rainfall is even an amount corresponding to the monthly norm. Between them, usually in the summer season, there is a longer period without rainfall. Alternating periods of increased precipitation cause that water resources in Poland are not rebuilding sufficiently. Therefore, it is necessary to accumulate rainwater in the place where it fell. Retention - small, large and micro retention, including the construction of water bodies of various sizes, restoration of wetlands, afforestation and planting of moisture-retaining greenery in cities and wastelands, or sowing flower meadows serves this purpose. More information on this subject can be found in our publications:
As we mentioned, agricultural drought in Poland has decreased, i. a. due to the fact that May was relatively cool and wet, the situation may change though. Trough retention investments locally carried out with the participation of Polish Waters proved to be very helpful. As the farmers emphasize, thanks to the local water damming of boils and canals, the effects of drought have decreased and crops are expected to increase by 30, and even by 40%.
However, increasing national retention is necessary because we are currently retaining approx. 6.5% of rainwater, we should have at least twice as much. It is therefore very important to increase public awareness of low water resources in Poland and the need for water retention. Information campaigns carried out by Polish Waters are devoted to this subject. In the fight against the effects of drought, it is necessary to engage the educational involvement of as many people as possible, including local governments, organizations, associations and local communities, adults, children and young people, because the topic of water resources protection and the need to preserve them concerns all of us. More information on the information and education campaigns of Polish Waters can be found at:
World Anti-Desertification and Drought Day was established by the UN General Assembly on January 30, 1995. It is celebrated annually on June 17. The basic aim is to organize assistance for countries affected by desertification.
photo: Sven Lachmann_Pixabay