Polish Hydrogeological Survey – the response to European Directive implementation

Andrzej Sadurski, Lesław Skrzypczyk


A b s t r a c t. The Water Framework Directive (WFD) established in 2000 expresses a general EU policy orientated towards protection, sustainable utilization and improvement of the quality of water bodies. Poland signed the accession treaty with the European Union in 2004. It was automatically obliged to comply with tasks specified in existing European directives. It was for that reason that in 2002, when Poland was preparing for accession to the EU, Poland transposed the requirements of the EU Water Framework Directive into the Polish legal document concerning the State’s water policy known as theWater Act. Fulfilment of the WFD’s objectives was defined in theWater Act through works of the Polish Hydrogeological Survey (PHS) established in 2002 within the Polish Geological Institute, following implementation of the Water Act. Since 2007, PHS received new duties resulting from the EU Groundwater Directive (2006/118/EU) on the protection of groundwater against pollution and deterioration (Official Journal EU L 372 from 12.12.2006). There are also hydrogeological obligations that result from another piece of national legislation called the Geology and Mining Act regarding thermal, saline and mineral waters, which are classified in Poland as mining resources. Fresh water resources are within the scope of the Water Act. At present, we observe a significant increase in usage of these resources, especially for geothermal energy and for recreational and therapeutic uses. Nevertheless, even curative waters must be considered in a systematic way, in connection with surface water and shallow groundwater, as their availability is controlled by infiltration from shallow groundwater or directly from infiltrating rivers and streams. Groundwater bodies delineated by the PHS have to be monitored and results of this monitoring are further transposed to river basin action plans. Some groundwater bodies are situated along the Polish boundary zones and these have to be controlled by both sides: PHS and the corresponding services of the neighbouring countries. The most important task for both sides is to achieve good groundwater status for trans-boundary groundwater bodies, water supplies for citizens and water dependent ecosystems. There are legal, organizational and research tasks within the monitoring schemes and water management planning projects, which belong to the duties of the PHS.

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