Water is the source of life and the engine of all world economies. Lack of access to water led to the collapse of civilization in the past. It is becoming a scarce commodity in times of climate change, and the perspective of an impending climate crisis requires that adequate water quantity and quality must be ensured for future generations. The activities of National Water Management Authority for the retention and protection of water resources are a guarantee for a safe future.
Appreciate water! is the motto of this year's World Water Day celebrations. It is in everyone's interest to improve the state of our water resources. Water circulates in nature in a closed circuit, which means that we use the same resources as dinosaurs millions of years ago. Therefore, the protection and rational use of surface and groundwater resources is our priority.
Not everyone is aware of the fact that groundwater is a reservoir of good quality water hidden beneath the Earth's surface, including precious drinking water. The process of renewing these resources is very slow. Water management in the perspective of the climate crisis obliges us to take actions that will allow preserving these resources. It is surface water retention, i.e. the collection of water in, for example, lakes, reservoirs and rivers, as well as ecosystem services - increasing the capacity of landscape retention - that is the answer to the problem and to adapting to climate change.
First of all - retention and improvement of water condition
The National Water Management Authority, while drafting the river basin management plans, strives to ensure that the condition of domestic surface waters does not deteriorate and continues to improve, guaranteeing sustainable development and providing access to good water quality. We should remember that nearly 30 % of water intakes are surface intakes, so intakes from water reservoirs or rivers. A city supplied with drinking water this way is, i.a. Warsaw. Thanks to a detailed analysis of pressures and impacts, National Water Management Authority plans, programs and then implements remedial action programmes to improve the status of surface and groundwater bulks and to protect them properly. These activities are included in the river basin management plans, which are the most important document and the starting point for all investment activities.
Secondly - restoring degraded ecosystems
Intensive or long-term exploitation of water resources may lead to a reduction in their quantity and the degradation of ecosystems dependent on waters. Taking remedial action is key to improve the water balance of these places and associated ecosystems. An example are activities in areas of old strip pits in Greater Poland where, thanks to collaboration between the mining and power sectors with the National Water Management Authority with the self-government entities projects will be carried out to changing the former pits into water reservoirs to improve the water retaining ratio in regions so vulnerable against water shortages and to create future new niches for water living and water depending organisms.
Thirdly - actions for the environment and biodiversity
Species diversity is also an indicator of the water condition. Therefore, when thinking about good-quality water resources, let's remember to also take care of the environment. The National Water Management Authority invests in landscape retention by renaturation and giving space back to rivers, promoting a modern approach to water management. These are multi-dimensional activities, using both the abilities of the buffer zone waterside vegetation in water self-purification processes, including the reduction of pollution, as well as technical activities aimed at the reconstruction of river migration corridors, creating a network of water arteries with a total length of over 100,000 km!
By removing migration barriers for aquatic organisms on rivers, the National Water Management Authority restores the possibility of migration of aquatic organisms down and up the river as well as access to historical spawning grounds of bi-environmental fish species. The example of tis are activities on the Biała Tarnowska River or Rega River.
The all-Poland character of actions for renaturation was caused by the National programme of surface waters renaturation
elaborated by the National Water Management Authority, causing the analysis of the condition of the national river systems and placing key points on the map pf Poland, where remedial actions will be taken at first. The list of actions for renaturation of waters will be entered into update of water management plants– II aPGW, which will be made available at webpage www.apgw.gov.pl
and subject to social consultations.
Fourthly - the attitude of each of us
Let us act consciously! Let us manage waters in a way that enables the development of various sectors of the economy, while at the same time caring for the condition of the environment, including ecosystems dependent on waters. Let us learn how to effectively manage rainwater in our everyday lives. Let it penetrate deep into the ground and supply groundwater resources. By reducing our consumption of precious tap water or water from underground wells, we will make a pure profit for our wallets and adapt our society and common space to climate change.
"To appreciate water" means to understand that the future of our children will depend on our daily decisions and our responsible water policy. Don't wait for others and take care of the water right now!
The article is also available on the portal National Geographic Polska