We will not improve the status of water without specific actions

30 grudnia 2021 r.

All the processes taking place in a given catchment affect the condition of water in our country. The point-based fight against the causes of pollution is an effective but temporary method. Comprehensive measures to improve water quality throughout Poland, which will help to improve the condition of water throughout the country, are of key importance. To do this effectively, cooperation is necessary, both on the institutional and social level. Each of us can contribute to the protection of the environment in our area, contributing to the improvement of our water resources - for the benefit of people and nature.

Only 10% of rivers in Poland have good or very good ecological status / potential, 60% moderate, and 30% poor or bad[1]. Improving the condition of water in Poland is our common goal, which we can achieve by appropriate use of the catchment area and implementation of specific measures. Water management plans in river basin districts constitute the basis for making decisions shaping the condition of water resources and define the principles of their management. They contain recommendations for action for all water bodies, including lakes, reservoirs, as well as rivers, streams, coastal fragments of sea water and groundwater. These are one of the most important planning documents in water management prepared by the State Water Holding "Polish Waters".

Homogeneous bodies of water, or a system of connected vessels

The quality of water in rivers, lakes and other reservoirs is influenced not only by the activity in their vicinity, but also throughout their catchment area. The planning units at which condition is assessed[2] waters of our country are water bodies, including surface water bodies: rivers, lakes, transitional and coastal waters, and groundwater bodies, i.e. waters occurring in aquifers or in their groups.

The state of the environment in the catchment, depending on its development and arrangement, translates directly into the state of surface and groundwater bodies. Pollution and transformation of soil, air and other elements of nature, sooner or later, will disturb the aquatic ecosystems, which are the "bloodstream" of the entire environment. Therefore, it is very important that we always remember that all our daily decisions affect the quality of the water. The condition of water is influenced by all activities that disturb the balance of water status, called pressures. The pressure may be the emission of pollutants, such as sewage or intensive fertilization - physicochemical pressures, as well as transformations of the natural conditions of the river bed or lake - hydromorphological pressures. They cause the condition of the waters to deteriorate, and thus - their quality to decline. Poor quality waters pose a threat not only to aquatic organisms, but to entire water-dependent ecosystems, and also to humans.

In order to reduce the impact of the pressure on surface and groundwater, the 2nd aPGW planned activities assigned to specific water bodies in which there is a risk of failure to achieve good status and the so-called national activities, i.e. those applicable throughout Poland. The sets of measures include measures aimed at improving the hydromorphological conditions of rivers, including restoration measures, restoring the natural character of rivers, enabling aquatic organisms to migrate and restore habitats. On the other hand, the construction or modernization of sewage treatment plants and the expansion of sewage systems, e.g. by local government units, it allows to limit physicochemical pressures, including the impact of pollutants into water. Chemical pressures are responded to, inter alia, by measures to prevent their emission and identification of their sources.

The river basin management plans are documents that list the remedial measures and units that will be implemented when the IIaPGW projects are approved by law. There are over 24 thousand corrective actions within them for over 3.6 thousand water bodies: river, lake, reservoir, transitional, coastal and underground. The total cost of implementing the activities planned in IIaPGW is nearly PLN 26 billion. The implementation of all tasks within the next 6 years is a challenge for the units that will be responsible for their implementation, which include government institutions and local government units. The effectiveness of the planned activities depends on the cooperation of all of us. Although it is a challenge for all of us, these efforts are worth taking, because the stake is the good condition of all Polish waters!

Start with yourself - control wastewater

One of the pressures exerted on water is pollution, the source of which is, among others, industrial and municipal wastewater, air pollution, as well as fertilizer residues flowing from the fields to the waters. Zbyt duża ilość związków azotu i fosforu prowadzi do najtrudniejszego do zwalczania zjawiska zwanego eutrofizacją (przeżyźnienie) zbiorników wodnych. Contaminated waters contribute to the destruction and even extinction of plants and animals.

Knowing that all wastewater goes to the right place, such as a treatment plant, is essential for effective water planning and water quality improvement. With this in mind, National Water Management Holding Polish Waters, in cooperation with the Voivodeship Inspectorates for Environmental Protection (WIOŚ) and local government units, they strictly control water devices that discharge sewage and rainwater into the river. Polish Waters is very consistent and factual in the approach to this topic: if the entity responsible for such a device does not have a water permit, it is obliged to obtain it and legalize the device or its disposal. Such an uncompromising approach is guided by a clear and specific idea: the responsibility for the quality of water rests on all of us, therefore the legalization of water facilities, and thus control over the discharge of waste into the water, is one of the priorities. The cooperation of Polish Waters with the Provincial Inspectorate of Environmental Protection and local governments to monitor illegal devices discharging pollutants into at the local and national level. By cooperating in this area, it is possible to effectively and efficiently contribute to the improvement of water status in a given place and in the entire catchment area.

Striving to improve the state of water in Polish is a process that requires responsibility and consistency. The activities planned for the 2022-2027 cycle have been planned to take into account the existing plans and programs, using the synergy between them: activities in the field of municipal management result from legal provisions and KPOŚK, and municipalities are primarily responsible for their implementation. Modern and efficient municipal wastewater treatment plants are the most effective tool for limiting the human impact on the state of water, therefore most of the activities focus on cooperation between municipalities, KPOŚK and IIaPGW. Unfortunately, the development of the sewage network is not possible everywhere. Therefore, the record of infrastructure related to wastewater management in the area of the commune outside agglomerations, i.e. without drainage reservoirs, is an important activity that belongs to the responsibility of local governments. Leaky septic tanks cause the domestic sewage to penetrate into the soil and groundwater, which can contaminate not only surface water, but also underground water. Therefore, monitoring of home sewage treatment plants, septic tanks and septic tanks is a big challenge for local governments, but also a very important element of care for the condition of the environment and water in the immediate vicinity.

"Water is not a garbage can", that is, how important it is to work at the grass roots

Habit is second nature to man, therefore no less important than applying actions repair or introducing infrastructure solutions, there is painstaking work at the grassroots level with society, ranging from residents of the largest cities to people living in the countryside. Habits can't change overnight, that's why Natioal Water Management Holding Polish Waters runs educational programs on about the impact of our habits and attitudes on the quality of water resources. One of them is the campaign "Water is not a garbage can", which in a logical and graphic way shows the relationship between what we leave behind the water and what is the quality of the water we use every day. Tens of tons of rubbish: household appliances, tires or large-size refurbished waste are, unfortunately, a common sight at lagoons and on river sections. The long-term process of developing good habits is to contribute to the elimination of illegal dumps in the long run. In addition, local units of Polish Waters promote actions to clean up littered areas around water reservoirs, lakes or rivers, showing the problem and action.

Education and responsible consumer decisions in choosing the products we choose, the food we eat, but most of all care for our water resources are activities supporting planning solutions and legal regulations, making the public aware of why it is worth taking care of water and the environment in the immediate vicinity and on a global scale.

We are planning remedial actions to improve the condition of Polish waters

The end of public consultations of the 2nd update of water management plans - IIaPGW, is just the beginning of their implementation! After passing the legislative and consensus path, the IIaPGW project will be adopted by means of a regulation of the minister competent for water management, as a document legally binding for the next 6 years. This will allow us to jointly implement the planned solutions and corrective actions. The adoption of this document, one of the most important for the national water management, will allow the implementation of thousands of measures to improve the condition of water. Much remains to be done - municipal, industrial and agricultural pollution, past water management mistakes and even mere littering - all have a devastating effect on water quality. Therefore, joint actions of: Polish Waters, ministries, local governments, environmental protection organizations, as well as each of us, will allow us to remedy the current situation and systematically strive to achieve good water status in Poland. Only by working together can we strive to achieve good condition for all water bodies. There is one goal: good water condition in our country. All of them! More info on page:


[1]Data of the Chief Inspectorate of Environmental Protection

[2]For surface water bodies, general status is assessed on the basis of ecological status or potential and chemical status, and for groundwater: on the basis of qualitative and quantitative status


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