The river Warta - the third largest river
The River Warta is the third
largest river in Poland after the Wisła and Odra but its river basin area
lies across entire Poland. The river is 808.2 kilometers long and the
catchment area amounts to 54528.7 square kilometers. It begins in Zawiercie
and finishes its course, flowing into the Odra in the Kostrzyn region.
According to historical records the name of the river comes from soldiers
standing guard, minding the defences over the water.
The waters of the Warta are used by industry, community business and agriculture.
Two cities, Poznan and Gorzów draw water directly from the River Warta
for community and industry purposes. Sewage flows however, from all the
sewered places into the river or its tributaries that has resulted in
the fact that for many years the river's water does not meet classification
guidelines. The largest city depositing sewage directly into the river
is Poznań, some 62 million square meters. Even greater deposits are made
indirectly by Łódź, 95 million square meters (first to the Ner which in
turn flows into the Warta, above the town of Koło). Częstochowa deposits
24 million annually with Konin, 8, Sieradz 4 and Śrem 3. Indirect contributors
from tributaries of the Warta are Kalisz 12 and Ostrów Wielkopolski, 5
million square meters respectively per year. No doubt, cities below Poznań
on the river such as Oborniki, Wronki, Międzchód, Skwierzyna, Gorzów and
Kostryn have an influence on the purity of the water.
Since 1995 there have been attempts to build a sewage purification plant
with a full purification cycle (mechanical, biological, eventually chemical
with sediment filtration at the same time). Some cities have purification
plants and some are in the investment process of this, such as Poznan,
Łódź and Kalisz. In 2000, the biological part of the Central Sewage Purification
Plant was put into action (the mechanical part has been working for several
years). It can be expected therefore that with the beginning of the 21st
century the state of purity of the Warta will improve decidedly. It necessary
to remember however, that the problem of sewage purification in tens and
hundreds of small towns and villages needs to be resolved as does the
problem of environmental pollution coming from agriculture.
The River Warta is not only a place for drawing water and depositing sewage
but also a communication route and potential flood threat.
Waterways with ports and shipyards, canals, retention dams, anti-flood
defence systems, hydro-technological structures, regulatory infrastructures
for rivers and canals, drainage systems and the remaining water structures
make up the basic framework of the Warta catchment area. The Warta is
part of three water routes:
- Wisła to the Odra, 226.1 kilometers (294.3
including the Lower Warta)
- Warta's navigable section, joining with
the Bydgoszcz canal up to the mouth of the Odra, 406.6 kilometers
- Warta up to the Bydgoszcz Canal, 146.6
On these water routes it
is possible to name the river ports of Bydgoszcz, Nakle, Ujście, Czarnkow,
Krzyz, Poznań and Gorzów.
The above infrastructure is used in small degree, mainly because of the
decline of water transport as well as a significant decapitalisation of
structures and lack of through-traffic depth.
The areas along the Warta and other lakes are secured against floods by
a system of embankments and retention dams. The most important of the
latter that have strategic significance are:
- Jeziorsko and Poraj on the river Warta
- Pakość on the river Noteć West
- Lake Gopło on the river Noteć East
The capacity of the dam in
the catchment area is insufficient from the safeguard point of view of
flood levels as well as the need for supplementation of insufficient lowland
The dam that will improve the situation to a significant degree will be
that of Wielowieś Klasztorna on the River Prosna (above Kalisz) whose
completion has been planned for many years.
The Bureau of the Province Executive Officer is preparing initial documentation
that is essential for the making of an appropriate project and the beginning
The "Development Strategy for Wielkopolska", passed by the Council
for the Wielkopolska Region has the problems of environmental protection
and water management as one of the most important to be resolved in the
short as well as the long-term.
At the present moment, the Managing Committee of the Region is developing
"A Program for the Protection of The Environment" as well as
"A Program of Measured Growth" of the Wielkopolska Region that
will allow for an actualisation of projects relating to the River Warta
and its tributaries.
Deputy Director, Department of Spatial Planning and Ecology
The Bureau of the Regional Executive Officer Wielkopolska Region