Evolution of Polish hydrogeology

Bohdan Kozerski, Bronisław Paczyński, Andrzej Sadurski, Lesław Skrzypczyk


A b s t r a c t. In Poland, hydrogeology as a separate scientific discipline came into being at the end of the 19th century. The first geologists were interested in springs, saline, mineralised waters of therapeutic use and dewatering of mines. Until World War I, in the early stages of hydrogeological developments, a different attitude towards groundwater problems was clearly notable in all three annexed Polish territories. The next stage of the development of Polish hydrogeology is dated to the years 1918–1939. In those times, the major focus of hydrogeological investigations was on building structures to extract artesian groundwater; mineral groundwater in the Polish spas; building municipal water intakes; and on Quaternary aquifers, widespread in Poland. Early hydrogeological handbooks were published at those times. The contemporary stage of Polish hydrogeology started in 1945, after World War II. In the early 1950s, the Department of Hydrogeology and Engineering Geology was established at the Central Board of Geology (CUG in Polish), which belonged to the Polish government as a separate ministry up to 1970. Hydrogeological companies with technology and development sections were founded in big cities. Nowadays, academic centres exist in Warsaw, Cracow, Wrocław, Gdańsk, Sosnowiec, Poznań, Kielce and Toruń. About 1400 persons with academic diplomas, 160 doctors and 22 professors of hydrogeology are active at present in the field of hydrogeology. The principal fields of Polish hydrogeology comprise the following: mine dewatering, recognition of groundwater resources and their protection, construction and exploitation of water intakes, hydrogeological cartography, mineral and thermal water resources, regional hydrogeology for physical planning, groundwater modelling and groundwater pollution, migration of pollutants and forecasting of groundwater changes. Up to the late eighties, political censorship was the main difficulty for the development of Polish hydrogeology, especially in publications related to sensitive information of groundwater occurrence and resources.

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