Coping with drought in Polish hydrological conditions

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Following a prolonged heatwave, the quantity of water in Polish rivers has fallen to an alarming level. The situation is very serious, with water drying up in wells and taps in some areas.

A drought is more dangerous than a flood

Droughts have not happened often recently (not since 1996 in Poland), which does not make them less dangerous than floods. While scenes from the latter make a more dramatic impression in the media, it is the drought that brings more serious consequences for the national economy. Impacting diverse sectors, such as agriculture and energy production, it also brings long-term consequences for the society as a whole.

Counteracting the drought

The methods of coping with the lack of water should be copied from the inhabitants California, who have been struggling with a drought for as long as the past four years. Tens of solutions have been proposed and implemented there. The Polish media have presented the idea of black balls which help reduce water evaporation from reservoirs, while other innovations include “mist catchers”, collecting water particles from the atmosphere, and “on demand” rain. Traditional methods, namely seawater desalination and drilling deeper for freshwater, are also commonly used. To counteract the results of the drought, the state has also introduced restrictions in water consumption by the state denizens as well as water recycling.

What could be done in Poland?

In the case of Poland, the construction of water retention tanks is the simplest option, both reservoirs which prevent flooding, and those which help to store water in case of a drought. Cooperating with the neighboring nations is another useful strategy. This summer Poland is struggling with the lack of rainfall, while at the same time rainfall has been heavy in Germany, leading to a risk of a flood.

If suitable infrastructure is built, freeing up water from Czech water reservoirs (which contributed to the “flood of the century” in 1997) can be used to cope with the drought in the South-West part of Poland naturally. Using the Californian approach and adopting modern technologies is an option worth considering, but the first step is the basics, that is the retention tanks. The time for innovative technologies will come later.