Academic journal article European Research Studies

A Comparative Analysis of Drinking Water Quality Management Systems in Poland

Academic journal article European Research Studies

A Comparative Analysis of Drinking Water Quality Management Systems in Poland

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

A crucial task for the public authorities is to ensure adequate quality of water planned for human consumption, which is fulfilled through the various ways of maintaining its value and improve it up to the expected standards. All actions taken towards the guaranteeing the quality of water include monitoring and control of water intakes, their conditions, as well as establishing their protection zones. Underground and surface intakes are the sources of water supplies for citizens for their consumption, and therefore, they must meet specific requirements. Among them, one should include the excellent quality of groundwater which does not require treatment, or such procedure is required in a minor process and, as well, the treatment of surface water which due to its quality requires respective methods of purification (Nowacka et al., 2015).

The quality of groundwater is conditioned by the amount and type of impurities entering the soil or contaminants migrating from the surface to the aquifer feed intake, whereas, the quality of surface water is conditioned by the quantity and type of impurities coming from the ground surface and entering the water intake. The contaminants in groundwater may appear after years and thus, such essential it is to maintain the regular control of water intakes zones to guarantee their safety and preservation. Furthermore, the public authorities should regularly monitor the standards of water supply chains to ensure an appropriate state of drinking water as a final good.

2. Materials and Methods

This article uses a comparative analysis of various drinking water treatment systems in selected Polish cities based on several acquired materials, reports and literature resources. The collection of data and information included 22 Polish cities with a population of more than 150 000 people and was completed between 2017 and 2018. The authors of the paper gathered the statistical data, official municipal documents obtained from the Municipal Water Supply units, Water Utility Companies within the country and the Sewerage Companies' websites, statutes and regulations, both Polish and EU, as well as the information from the campaign materials promoting tap water consumption throughout the country. The data and information were obtained through the telephone interviews and by studying the available website reports and news. The collected data was summarized in tables, and then the results of the comparative analysis were discussed to draw, at the final stage, the appropriate conclusions.

3. Theoretical Background

3.1 Domestic and EU Legal Regulations on Water Quality in Poland

The basic law act regulating the principles of preserving and improving water quality in Poland is the Act of July 20, 2017--Water Law which includes all assumptions of the Council Directive 91/271 / EEC of 21 May 1991 concerning urban wastewater treatment, as well as the Council Directive 91/676 / EEC of 12 December 1991 concerning the protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources. The general aim of the Act is to normalize the management of water supplies in Poland in terms of sustainable development regarding the protection and conservation of water intakes, water resources and their management (Cano-Rocabayera, 2019).

Additionally, the above acts are also supported by the norms counted in Directive 2000/60 / EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a Community framework action in the field of water policy which regards water as a heritage to be protected and not as the product to be treated in a commercial way. Such an approach to water is the result of the European citizens' initiative which in 2014 started a campaign called "Right2Water" during which a motto "Water and Sanitation are a human right! Water is a public good not a commodity!" (EC, 2014). Similarly, in Poland a campaign "I drink tap water" has been introduced by two young people M. …

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