Groundwater Monitoring

We provide measurement results, tests in terms of quality and amount of groundwater, necessary for quantitative and chemical assessment of groundwater.

The task of the groundwater monitoring, carried out in the Polish Geological Institute – National Research Institute, within the framework of performing tasks of the Polish Hydrogeological Survey, is to provide measurement results, tests in terms of quality and amount of groundwater, necessary for quantitative and chemical assessment of groundwater. It is among the duties of the State in terms of economy and groundwater protection.

These tasks include, in particular:

  • protection of admissible groundwater resources from degradation in terms of quantitative and qualitative criteria;
  • groundwater management and protection;
  • protection of groundwater dependent terrestrial ecosystems and surface water bodies (GWDTE);
  • control of the impact of business activity on groundwater state and the efficiency of implemented protective measures;
  • development of strategies, plans for water management in catchments and subcatchments;
  • compliance with obligations under international and European Union cooperation;
  • informing the public about groundwater state.

Network and groundwater monitoring points

The organisation and scope of groundwater monitoring was adapted to comply with European Community directives, particularly the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC), Groundwater Directive (2006/118/EC) and Nitrates Directive (91/676/EEC), in accordance with its specific features resulting from the unique geological structure and hydrogeological conditions in Poland.

Groundwater monitoring is implemented on three levels: national, regional and local.

The main role is carried out by national monitoring, which constitutes the groundwater monitoring network, which spans across the entire country and all usable aquifers and groundwaters.

The monitoring network comprises 1250 points (as of December 2020). In some of the points, the measurements are conducted with the use of automatic devices and the results are transferred to a database server, which makes hydrogeological assessment on a day-to-day basis possible.

Measurements and sampling

Measurements, depending on the function of each type of monitoring, are carried out over various timescales. Groundwater level measuring is conducted daily in first-tier hydrogeological stations or weekly in second-tier hydrogeological stations. In some of the hydrogeological stations of the first and second tiers, automatic measuring of groundwater levels was implemented.

Within the framework of chemical state monitoring, two types of monitoring are conducted – surveillance monitoring and operational monitoring.

Surveillance monitoring carried out on national level every three years. In the years between surveillance monitoring, operational monitoring is carried out, which involves sampling, once or twice a year, of groundwater bodies that at risk of failing to achieve good status until 2021.

The Team for the Hydrogeology and Environment Program also coordinates studies conducted within the framework of cooperation between countries and nations: groundwater monitoring within border areas, in the Baltic Sea drainage area (HELKOM), assessment of water quality on a European scale (for the purposes of European Environment Agency) and NATO (SPS program – Science for Peace and Security).

Groundwater Monitoring database and information sharing

Monitoring records collected within the Groundwater Monitoring database (MWP database) include:

  • information on monitoring points;
  • results of groundwater level and spring discharge measurements (the oldest from 1966);
  • results of groundwater chemical composition designation (the oldest from 1991).

With the use of publications and the Internet, the following study papers are published and made available:

  • Quarterly Groundwater Information Bulletin, published quarterly, contains information on monitoring points, rules of monitoring result interpretation and statistically studied and presented in tables results of groundwater level and spring discharge measurements with an assessment of hydrogeological situation in a given hydrogeological quarter;
  • Hydrogeological Yearbook, published annually, contains statistical studies and results presented in tables concerning groundwater level and spring discharge measurements as well as chemical composition of groundwaters with assessment of hydrogeological situation in a given hydrogeological year.

Research, national and international cooperation

Employees of the Hydrogeology and Environment Program actively participate in research, hold lectures at universities, present reports on national and foreign conferences and thematic symposia, and write articles and handbooks on methodological issues of monitoring. They participate as members or experts of advisory boards in implementation of the tasks of State Environmental Monitoring and water management. They participate in the work of international transboundary waters commissions, the International Commission for the Protection of the Odra River against Pollution and in working groups for groundwater bodies in European structures.