Foreseen climate changes and irrigation development in Poland

key words: climate changes, irrigation, drought


Uncertainties as to how the climate will change and how it will influence the necessities and trends of irrigation development are the serious questions to be answered in the near future. How irrigation and water systems will have to adapt to climate changes is the challenge that planners, designers and O&M ser-vices will have to cope with. It is widely accepted that air temperature will increase of 2–4°C in Po-land. Changes in total seasonal precipitation or its pattern of variability are both important. There is rather an agreement that total yearly precipitation will not be changed but its pattern in the year will change towards greater amount in winter and less in summer. Moreover, evapotraspiration and crop water demands can increase due to increased temperatures and the extent of the length of growing season. Thus soil moisture can be depleted more quickly during the growing sea-son, while surface runoff and groundwater recharge decreased. Due to climate change and related extreme meteorological and hydrologi-cal events (droughts), it is indispensable to review planning principles, design criteria, operating rules, contingency plans and management policies for water infrastructures and to stress the role of irrigation and agricultural water man-agement to control extreme meteorological and hydrological events due to cli-mate change. Nowadays the role of irrigation in agriculture is marginal because of very small irrigated area (0.5% of the total agricultural land area). During the recent years, as well as in the years to come, three main factors will exert an accelerat-ing influence on the development of irrigation: increased frequency and intensity of droughts and long-lasting precipitation-free periods with the high insolation and high air temperatures; the intensification of agricultural production (e.g. in horticulture, orchards, seed crops), being forced by the internal domestic and all-European free-market competition; the necessity of reaching high quality of the majority of agricultural products. To mitigate negative effects of extreme events the appropriate adaptation methods and adaptation strategies should be developed and implemented in exist-ing irrigation and water control systems. Number of technical and organisational actions should be undertaken for the improvement of operation, management, administration and decision making.


Łabędzki L. 2009. Foreseen climate changes and irrigation development in Poland. Infrastruktura i Ekologia Terenów Wiejskich. Nr 2009/ 03