Public consultations concerning the draft document entitled "Project Review of Important Water Management Problems for River Basin Districts" announced by the Ministry of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation in cooperation with Państwowe Gospodarstwo Wodne Wody Polskie (Polish Waters National Water Management), which lasted half a year, ended on June 18, 2020.
One of the many tasks making up the review and update of river basin management plans consists in the Review of significant water management issues. Accurately identifying them allows for taking advantage of proper action programs, the implementation of which will be of key importance for achieving or maintaining at least a good status of waters and ecosystems dependent on them. Significant water management problems constitute the most important factors that hinder achieving environmental goals. The related developed document, in accordance with the assumptions of the RDW and the Water Law Act, is subject to public consultations lasting six months, two years before publishing subsequent (updated) water management plans. When identifying significant water management problems, the voice of the society is extremely important, because every citizen uses water and has the right to pose an opinion concerning managing its resources.
In terms of public consultations, the following actions have been carried out: a nationwide consultation meeting in the form of a webinar was held and shared at www.apgw.pl
an electronic form for submitting comments. A survey of local government units and key entities responsible for supervising the functioning of individual water management areas was also carried out in order to additionally verify the most important problems identified in the Review that hinder achieving environmental objectives in a given river basin district and areas of water management in which remedial measures should be implemented in the first place.
The IP Review aims to identify and classify both the most important water management problems hindering maintaining or achieving environmental goals, as well as the factors causing their occurrence. Significant problems have been identified independently for each of the nine river basin districts. In terms of the public consultation concerning the Review of significant water management problems in river basin districts, it was possible to determine which problems are the most and the least important. This concerned the qualitative and quantitative protection of surface and ground waters, morphological changes in surface waters, as well as legal-organizational and economic-financial aspects.
Atmospheric deposition (air pollution) was considered a very significant problem in 7 out of 9 river basins (apart from the Mamonovka - moderate, and the Danube - significant). When it comes to the Vistula and Odra river basins, a risk related to the permeability of rivers in terms of the possibility of the migration of bi-environmental fish as well as the efficiency of using water resources and financing activities in water management was also identified. In the case of the Odra river basin, domestic sewage turned out to be an additional, very significant problem. The same applies to the Neman and Pregoła river basins, and it has also been recognized as a significant problem in terms of the Danube basin. As for significant problems, industrial sewage turned out to be one in the following basins: the Vistula, the Odra, the Mamonovka, and the Neman. In the case of the Pregoła basin, the morphological changes of surface waters were also considered significant. In terms of the Vistula and Odra river basins, the following were considered important: unmetered groundwater intake for the purposes of agricultural crop irrigation, water intake and drainage of mining areas, exposure to drought, resulting from climate change, and having an impact on various sectors of the economy.
The remaining problems in all river basins were considered as moderate or insignificant. A total of 150 problems have been identified, of which: 16 as very significant, 40 as significant, 30 as moderate, 60 as not significant, and for 4 there was no data to be assessed.
The implementation of the Draft review of significant problems of water management, along with conducting public consultations, meets the requirements of the applicable regulations, i.e. Art. 319 section 4 of the Water Law act of 20th July 2017 (Journal of Laws 2018, item 2268 with changes) and constitutes one of the key elements for the development, review, and update of river basin water management plans.