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Adrian Zandberg: “There is less water in Poland than in Egypt.” No, it’s not that bad

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Adrian Zandberg calls for the protection of water resources in Poland, claiming that we already have less water than Egypt. The data we analyzed does not support this.

On July 15, politicians from the Left Together met with sympathizers in Sopot. One of the participants drew attention to the problem of water: he postulated the development of the so-called small retention, i.e. retaining water or slowing down its runoff, for example by collecting rainwater. “I can applaud this question, but I will say that small retention is not everything” – replied Adrian Zandberg from the Together Party. “What we need, ladies and gentlemen, in a country like Poland, is also renaturation” – he said, adding:

Today, there is less water in Poland than in Egypt.

The politician emphasized that many regions of Poland are permanently affected by agricultural drought, which may soon threaten food security. He accused politicians of hypocrisy who, talking to farmers, argue that they should not worry about climate change, for example.

But is the comparison between Poland and Egypt true?

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Total renewable water resources

Adrian Zandberg is not the first politician to compare the water resources of Poland and Egypt. In June 2019, a fact-checking service Demagogue he checked a similar statement by MP Jan Łopata. In February 2020, Dr. Sebastian Szklarek from the European Regional Center for Ecohydrology of the Polish Academy of Sciences published on his blog article dedicated to such comparisons.

Doctor Szklarek refers in his text to the database aquastat belonging to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The database contains information on total renewable water resources in individual countries of the world. According to the FAO definition, this term covers surface and groundwater – including those flowing into the country from abroad. “It corresponds to the maximum theoretical annual amount of water available for a given country at any given time,” we read in glossary on the FAO website.

According to the latest available data in 2020, Poland’s total renewable water resources were slightly larger than Egypt’s. In Poland, they amounted to 60.5 billion cubic meters, and in Egypt – 57.5 billion.

Per capita, Polish water resources were 2.8 times greater than in Egypt – were 1598.56 cubic meters, and in Egypt – 561.88.

We tried to contact Adrian Zandberg to ask him about the basis of his thesis, but to no avail. However, in view of the above-quoted data, we consider the statement of the politician of the Left Together to be false.

Poland and Egypt: different climate, different problems

– Data from the Aquastat project are good data. There are no similar alternatives – says Dr. Sebastian Szklarek in an interview with Konkret24. He explains that the total renewable water resources are not all the water accumulated within the country’s borders. It’s about the amount of resources that flow through a country each year. – This is the water that leaves the country in rivers every year. This is how these estimates are made by measuring river flows, says Dr. Szklarek. In his opinion comparing countries can be misleading due to different climatic and hydrological conditions. – Each body of water is like a patient, it needs to be thoroughly examined – says the expert.

Sebastian Szklarek notes that in Poland water comes mainly from precipitation. Egypt’s resources are based on the Nile, which is fed in central Africa. – A completely different country, different water problems, different solutions must be used – he concludes. He adds that an important issue is one different water quality in both countries. For example, it is about drinking water.

Author:Krzysztof Jablonowski

Main photo source: Bartosz Banka / Agencja Wyborcza.pl

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