Monitoring of water status is an indispensable element of appropriate water protection. It provides data on the current status of surface water bodies and groundwater bodies.
Surface water quality monitoring and groundwater monitoring constitute the sub-systems of the state environmental monitoring (SEM) which in accordance with the art.25 paragraph 1 and 2 of the Act – Environment Protection Law, is the system of measurements, assessments and prognosis of the status of environment and collection, processing and dissemination of environmental data and poses a source of information about environment.
The obligation of examination and assessment of the surface water and groundwater quality in the frame of SEM results from art.155a, paragraph 2 of the Water Law Act, while in accordance with the paragraph 3 of this article the examination of surface water quality in the scope of biological, physico-chemical and chemical elements is within the competence of the voivodship inspector for environmental protection, and the examination of hydrological and morphological elements is within the competence of the national hydrological and meteorological service.
The purpose of carrying out the examination is establishing the basis for taking measures for improvement of water status and protection of water bodies against pollution.
The surface water quality monitoring sub-system includes following tasks:
- Measurements and assessment of the status of river – the major aim of the task is to generate information on ecological status (or ecological potential) and chemical status of rivers in Poland, which is essential to water management in river basins. The examinations are carried out on the basis of division of the hydrographical system for in so called surface water bodies which are the separate and significant elements of surface water and the basic unit for water management. The measurement of surface water bodies in river basins are conducted in the frame of three monitoring types:
surveillance monitoring (SM) – conducted in order to provide general assessment of the status of surface water in each river basin and sub-basin inside the river basin district and enable the assessment of long-term changes in natural conditions,
operational monitoring (OM) – conducted in order to establish the status of water bodies identified as being at risk of failing to meet their environmental objectives and assess any changes in the status of such bodies resulting from implementation of programmes of measures defined in the National Programme of Measures. The programme of the operational monitoring includes also measurements carried out in the network of points deliberately serving the examination of surface water bodies included in the register of protected areas, surface water bodies providing the environment for fish life in natural conditions or being monitored in order to meet the obligations arising from the international agreements. investigative monitoring (IM) - conducted in order to observe and explain the unknown causes of a water bodies failing to achieve the environmental objectives.
- Measurements and assessment of the status of lakes – the major aim of the task is to provide information on the ecological and chemical status of Polish lakes, which is essential to manage waters in river basins and also to protect them against eutrophication and anthropogenic pollutants. The measurement of lake surface water bodies are conducted with reflection of division into surveillance, operational and investigative, while in the frame of surveillance monitoring there are 22 lakes educed for additional intensive, annual monitoring (so called benchmark lakes).
- Measurements and assessment of the ecological potential and the chemical status of dam reservoirs – the monitoring programme is conducted, like in the case of rivers and lakes, in the scope of surveillance, operational and investigative monitoring. The aim is to provide information on the ecological potential and the chemical status of dam reservoirs.
- Measurements and assessment of transitional and coastal water – the aim is to provide knowledge about the ecological status (or ecological potential) and the chemical status of transitional and coastal water bodies in Poland, which is essential for water management in river basins and their protection.
- Measurements and assessment of the quality of the Baltic sea environment – execution of biological, physical, chemical and radiochemical measurements of the sea environment parameters and measurements of processes, changes and trends supervening in environment.
- Measurements and assessment of hydromorphological elements – supporting element for the assessment of the surface water ecological status. The purpose is to monitor the changes supervening in surface water bodies which determine the habitat conditions for living organisms.
- Measurements and assessment of bottom sediments in rivers and lakes – measurements include defining the level of pollutants in sediments and the control of heavy metals concentration and chosen harmful organic compounds accumulated in the river and lake sediments in the country and defining the trends of change in the contents of the pollutants.
In the frame of sub-system of groundwater monitoring measurements of the chemical status of groundwater bodies are carried out. The scope of the measurement includes general physical and chemical (e.g. reaction and temperature) and inorganic elements. The measurements are conducted in the frame of surveillance, operational and investigative monitoring. Additionally (outside the system of SEM) measurements of the quantitative status of groundwater are conducted.
The measurements of the quantitative and chemical status of groundwater is within the meaning of, in accordance with the Water Law Act, the objective of the national hydrogeological service.
Monitoring of surface water and groundwater is carried out in accordance with the rules defined in the Regulation of the Minister of the Environment of 13 May 2009 on forms and methods of conducting surface water and groundwater monitoring (OJ of 2009 No. 81, item 685).
The basic document defining the scope of monitoring of environmental elements, including water, is the State Environmental Monitoring Programme (currently binding covers the years 2010-2012), prepared by the Chief Inspector for Environmental Protection. Detailed information concerning conducted programme is available on the website of the Chief Inspectorate for Environmental Protection (www.gios.gov.pl), and on the websites of voivodship inspectorates for environmental protection.
Water bodies status assessment
Assessments of the status of surface water bodies are used for integrated water management in river basins. Within the meaning of the Regulation of the Minister of the Environment of 20 August 2008 on the classification method of surface water bodies status (OJ of 2008 No. 162, item 1008) assessment of the status of surface water bodies includes ecological and chemical status. The basis for the ecological status assessment are so called biological elements, while physico-chemical elements together with hydromorphological elements have supportive meaning. The definition issue in the scope of classification of the ecological status/potential and chemical status of surface water bodies is regulated by the Regulation of the Minister of the Environment of 22 July 2009 on the classification of the ecological status, ecological potential and chemical status of surface water bodies (OJ of 2009 No. 122, item 1018).
Every year the ecological status (or ecological potential in the case of artificial and heavily modified water bodies) and chemical status of water bodies which were monitored in the preceding year are assessed. Every three years, when the full monitoring programme has been conducted, overall collation of the water status in river basins is prepared.
The method of conducting the assessment of the groundwater status is regulated by the Regulation of the Minister of the Environment of 23 July 2008 on the criteria and methods of groundwater status assessment (OJ of 2008 No. 143, item 896). The general assessment of groundwater status is carried out with reflection of the quantitative and chemical status assessment.
Information on: http://www.gios.gov.pl/artykuly/podkategoria/3/panstwowy-monitoring-srodowiska