Protection of groundwater quality and quantity of strategic groundwater resources of the Major Groundwater Basins

Stanisław Witczak, Andrzej Szczepański, Józef Mikołajków, Lesław Skrzypczyk


A b s t r a c t. The policy for delineation of the Major Groundwater Basins (MGWBs) was developed in Poland as early as the 1980’s. MGWBs are the most important water-bearing structures that yield the highest water productivities and qualities and represent major regional sources of drinking water. To date, 163 MGWBs have been established and 60 of them have been documented, stating, with different degrees of precision, their protection strategies. These actions have preceded the EU recommendations of the Water Framework Directive (2000) and the Groundwater Directive (2006). In 2008, following the national strategy for protection of water resources prepared by the Ministry of the Environment and the National Water Management Authority, efforts began for the uniform documentation of the remaining 101 MGWBs, including delineation of their protection zones and the development of rules for groundwater protection. These works were planned for the period of 2009–2015. The task has been undertaken by the Polish Hydrogeological Survey in cooperation with a wide range of academic and research centres and private hydrogeological enterprises. The establishment of critical protection areas is based primarily on hydrogeological factors. However, recent and future local development and water management planning documents, especially with respect to the sustainability of strategic groundwater resources and development of new water intakes is also taken into consideration. Hydrogeological documentation of MGWBs will serve RegionalWater Management Authorities as the basis for implementation of protection areas in the local development plans and for setting rules for water management in those areas.

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