Water Conservation; Water and Industry; Town Water Supply and Sanitation; Water Supply and Sanitation Governance and Institutions; Hydrology; Sanitation and Sewerage; Drought Management; Water Resources Law
Europe and Central Asia
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Summary: The authors describe and analyze the emergence of river basin management in the Warta River Basin of Poland. The Warta basin's 55,193 km2 cover approximately one-sixth of Poland, and the Warta is a principal tributary to the Oder. Water management issues include pollution of the Warta and its main tributaries, prompting cities to rely on groundwater supplies that are beginning to show signs of overdraft, and growing problems of water allocation and scarcity as the basin urbanizes and industrializes. Since the end of the 1980s, the Polish government has been promoting decentralization, constructing a federal system that includes provinces, counties, and municipalities with authority over land use, water use permits, and environmental protection. Polish authorities have also established river basin management authorities corresponding to basin boundaries throughout the nation, including one for the Warta basin. The efforts toward decentralization and integrated water resource management in Poland have been earnest, but the dispersion of water policy authority across several levels of government, the establishment of basin authorities lacking power and funding to implement resource management programs, few arrangements for stakeholder participation, and delays in Polish water law reform have complicated the development and implementation of integrated management at the basin level.
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