There has not been such a warm winter in Poland with such low precipitation in years, according to the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management (IMGW).
The IMGW says that January 2020 was the warmest January in the last 50 years in Poland. Experts are concerned that if precipitation does not increase, there will be a drought during summer which could lead food prices to skyrocket.
Data from the National Water Management Authority from the last few years shows that since 2015, both the level of soil humidity and the annual evaluation of conditions for replenishing water resources via precipitation have both shown a deficit.
The index for the end of January shows a slight improvement, but in order to sufficiently replenish water resourced in Poland, light rain would have to fall constantly for 60 days, Polish authorities from IMGW stressed.
Experts believe that the moderate precipitation occurring today is much more effective at combating the effects of drought than rain showers. Yet the light rain has done little to change Poland’s worsening water crisis.
Poland might suffer the strongest drought in the last 50 years if the level of precipitation remains unchanged after spring, warns Minister of Maritime Economy Marek Gróbarczyk.
He emphasized that the current situation is not only the effect of low precipitation but also of poor management and errors in Poland’s water conservation efforts over the last decades.
“The state can take some action to lessen the effects of drought, but you cannot catch up to decades of mismanagement in a year,” Gróbarczyk explained.
Economists emphasized that the drought will bring real economic loss. The Polish Economic Institute forecasts that if the low level of soil humidity and water supplies are not be compensated by regular and moderate rains in spring, it will lead to an increase in the cost of living and food prices might go up by dozens of percentage points.
Bogdan Chojnicki of the Poznań University of Life Sciences warned that the rising prices will be hard to lower through importing food, as the climate warming has a global aspect to it that is affecting many other countries as well.