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Monday, June 24, 2024

Drought in Poland. Weather in Poland. A “big threat” awaits us this summer

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In Supraśl (Podlaskie Voivodeship), as in 15 other communes in Poland, restrictions on water consumption have been introduced. As explained by IMGW hydrologist Grzegorz Walijewski on TVN24, this is due to extremely low rainfall. Drought can have a dramatic impact not only on ecosystems, but also on many other areas of our lives.

Many regions of Poland struggle with water shortages. The most difficult situation is in the north and in the center of the country – in the Pomorskie and Zachodniopomorskie voivodeships, a state of emergency has been in force since April due to the occurrence and forecasting of a hydrogeological low flow. In areas affected by low water, there may be difficulties in water supply from shallow groundwater intakes and municipal intakes.

There is no water in the taps

Water shortages prompt local authorities to introduce restrictions on its use. In the commune of Supraśl (Podlaskie Voivodeship) since Sunday watering home gardens and filling swimming pools is prohibited from 6 am to 10 pm. Intensive watering translated into low water pressure in the taps, and even temporary interruptions in its supply. On June 5 and 6, water consumption in Grabówka was four times higher than its availability.

According to the data provided by the Świat Wody portal, restrictions on limiting water consumption have so far been introduced in a total of 16 communes, mainly in Pomerania and central Poland.

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High fire hazard

As Grzegorz Walijewski from the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management explained in the program “You get up and know” on TVN24, the difficult hydrological situation in Poland – and not only – results from very low amounts of precipitation. In more than half of the country, soil moisture has fallen below 30 percent, which translates into a high fire risk.

– Since 2014, we have been experiencing drought in Poland permanently, every year. It is during this spring period that a great threat is created, which is intensified in the summer – he explained. – [Zagrożenie pożarowe – przyp. red.] across the northern and central parts of the country it is either very high or extremely high.

Walijewski added that water shortages will accompany us more and more often. They will be caused not only by the lack of sufficient rainfall, but also by a change in their nature.

– In Poland, we need rainfall, but not so intense, rather calm, subdued, which would last for several days (…). Such a situation, especially in the northern and central parts of the country, should last for a good two or three weeks, because this is the rainfall deficit at the moment – he said. He added that in May, only 10-20 percent of the average rainfall in these regions fell in the Warmińsko-Mazurskie, Pomorskie and Zachodniopomorskie voivodeships.

Forest fire hazard, 12.06.23IMGW

We need cold winters

Summer water shortages are also the result of milder winters. According to Walijewski, snowfalls less and less often form snow cover in lowland and upland areas. This means that during the thaws, the water trapped in it does not slowly soak into the soil and does not rebuild the groundwater resources, which has an impact on lowering the surface water level.

Problems with the availability of water can lead to a “vicious circle” – with the increase in demand, its resources will decrease. Rising water temperatures can also be a problem for industry and the energy sector as it will cool systems less than before.

– Drought affects not only ecosystems, rivers, lakes, what is happening in forests, but in the end it will affect all of us – added Walijewski.

Can we fight drought? The expert said that we should rather think about how to adapt to new environmental conditions.

– Remember, rain is a natural good, so let’s catch rainwater and use it in dry periods to water the lawn, wash the car or do laundry. At home, let’s save water – let’s use water-saving devices such as a washing machine, dishwasher in eco mode, let’s put on aerators. Let’s save water not only when it is scarce, but all the time – said Walijewski.

How to save water?IMGW/MGMiŻŚ

PGI, TVN24, Świat Wody, tvnmeteo.pl

Main photo source: Shutterstock/World of Water

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