International co-operation in groundwater monitoring and protection

The Polish Hydrogeological Survey (PHS) participates in cooperation between the nations and countries concerning the implementation of national policy with regard to the management and protection of groundwater.

Part of the PHS activity is related to the direct execution of tasks coordinated by the Minister of Environment, National Counsel of Water Management, Chief Inspectorate of Environmental Protection and Government Representative for Transboundary Waters Cooperation. They are implemented in commissions, in which employees of the National Geological Institute – the National Research Institute participate as delegates or experts:

  • International Commission for the Protection of the Odra River against Pollution,
  • Commissions for transboundary waters: Polish-German, Polish-Czech, Polish-Slovakian, Polish-Ukrainian and organised Polish-Lithuanian.

The national hydrogeological service provides data and assessments of the monitoring results regarding the condition of groundwater for the purpose of reports prepared for the European Commission and European Environment Agency (EEA). 

The International Commission for the Protection of the Odra River against Pollution (MKOOpZ) is one of numerous commissions acting in Europe which deal with the waters of rivers, lakes, nearshore and underground waters, where the river catchment areas are located in two or more countries. It was established under the Agreement of 11 April 1996 signed in Wrocław between the governments of the Republic of Poland, the Czech Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany and the European Community. The fundamental aims of the International Commission for the Protection of the Odra River against Pollution are:

  • to prevent the pollution of the Odra River and the Baltic Sea by contaminants;
  • to achieve aquatic and littoral ecosystems as close as possible to the natural ones, with the corresponding species diversity;
  • to permit utilisation of the Odra River, in particular the production of drinking water from bank filtrate intakes and the use of its water and sediments in agriculture;
  • to prevent and reduce permanently the risk of flood damage;
  • to coordinate implementation of the Framework Water Directive in the Odra River basin.

Employees of the national hydrogeological service perform their activities in working groups: GM – monitoring, and GD – data management. Trilateral arrangements in the GM and GD groups resulted in the development of assumptions and guidelines for the common groundwater monitoring networks in the International Odra River Catchment Area (MODO), and coordination of the scope and methodology of monitoring the testing, rules of interpretation and assessment of the condition of groundwater and the rules for preparing reports. The effects of these works constitute the annual reports, including reports for the European Commission on the groundwater monitoring system (Report 2008) and the Water Management Program in MODO (2010).

Transboundary Waters Commissions for hydrogeology deal with solving ad-hoc problems related to protection of the resources and quality of groundwater. Additionally, working groups and teams of experts to solve individual problems are formed as part of the Commissions.

The Polish-German Transboundary Waters Commission focuses mainly on the issue of draining the brown coal mines in the area of the adjacent country and coordination of water supply from the groundwater intakes located in the border zones.

The Polish-Czech Transboundary Waters Commission focuses on the coordination of water consumption in the border zones, impact of mine drainage and assessment of the impact of water damming of surface reservoirs on groundwater. The structure of the Commission includes a group of expert hydrologists and hydrogeologists, HyP, specialising in groundwater and constituting representatives of the Lower Silesia Division of PIG-PIB.

The 3rd working group of the Polish-Lithuanian Commission for transboundary waters management was appointed by the decision of the National Counsel of Water Management in 2010.

The scope of issues handled by the 3rd Working Group includes:

  • performing common and agreed observations and measurements of surface and underground water, and exchange of hydrochemical, hydrogeological and hydrometeorological data,
  • establishment of criteria for the quality of transboundary waters and their class of purity, as well as implementation of measuring programs and establishment of analytic methods,
  • exchange of scientific and technical experiences from the field of hydrogeology, hydrometeorology and water protection.

The bilateral sampling of groundwater was carried out in 2012:

  • Polish-German measurements of the groundwater level on the both sides of the Uznam Island boundary were performed in April and October of 2012. The measurements were performed by the Polish-German Working Group for groundwater management in the eastern part of the Uznam Island, consisting of the representatives of the Marshal of the Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship, including representatives of the Pomeranian Regional Geology Unit of PIG-PIB in Szczecin as well as hydrogeology experts from Mecklemburg-Front Pomerania.
  • in April and September of 2012, common Polish-Czech control measurements were performed on the both sides of the national border, in accordance with reports 39 and 40 from the conference of the “Common working group of expert hydrologists and hydrogeologists” from the Czech Republic and the Republic of Poland with regard to issues concerning underground and surface waters in the following border zones: Police by Metují – Kudowa Zdrój (OPKu), Krzeszów – Adršpach (OKrA) and in the Upper and Middle Ścinawka River catchment area (OS),
  • in the period 1-5 October 2012 another physicochemical sampling cycle was performed for selected study points located on both sides of the border between Poland and the Republic of Lithuania, in accordance with the arrangements of the 1st conference of the 3rd Working Group performing its activities by the Polish-Lithuanian Commission for Transboundary Waters Management.