Water intakes for Warsaw

Autor: mgr inż. Adam Roman Jacewicz    

Water intakes for Warsaw

The main region of water intakes lie in the section of the Vistula between Łazienkowski and Siekierkowski Bridges. Intakes of communal water both for the left bank as well as for the right bank of Warsaw are located here. The river’s principal function in this section is water collection and everything conducted on it is subordinated to it. That is why this section is under the control of the Municipal Water Supply and Sewerage Enterprise (MPWiK).

The complex of intakes is made up of the main intake, known as Gruba Kaśka (Fat Kate) and six supplementary intakes built later, located on both banks of the Vistula. All are under-bottom intakes and work on the basis of infiltration. Water is collected from a sandy layer of ground found under the bottom of the river, using drainpipes of 300-400 mm dia., 100-400 m in length laid at the depth of 4-7 m below the bottom and so the drainpipes are covered with a natural filtering layer of sand. After filtering through that layer water flows through the drainpipes to the intake’s collective well and through the pump system positioned there, it is forwarded onto the treatment station, making the water suitable for domestic use. The Water Treatment Plant for the Praga waterworks is located on the right side of the Vistula opposite the Gruba Kaśka behind the dyke and Miedzeszyńska Street.

The waterside intake of the Vistula located on the left bank, down from Czerniakowski Port was the oldest intake of water for Warsaw – built still before the war by Lindley’s English company, that built the central waterworks system for the left bank. Water collection takes place directly from the river by three inlet constructions taking in the water by gravitation to the sedimentation tank. Water is pumped to the Central Waterworks Plant, which treats water for Warsaw’s entire left bank. These are the well-known Filtry Warszawskie (Warsaw Waterworks), located on Filtrowa Street, also heritage listed, built by engineer Lindley, still operating today and modernised. However, due to technical problems, the waterside intake is not used as often nowadays and there is a move to almost completely collect water from the bottom of the river. Nonetheless, the system of right bank intakes is joined with the left bank by a pipeline with a 1000 mm dia. laid in the tunnel under Vistula’s bottom, enabling the transfer of crude water between both systems, which allows for flexible water management in the whole city.

After using under-bottom intakes the filtrating layer covering it needs constant care and conservation. So that the drainpipes function correctly the proper shaping of the river bottom and the correct movement of rubble has to be maintained in this section. Most of the drainpipe covering should not go down below 4.0 m, and the filtering layer must be constantly conserved and rinsed. MPWiK responsible for this section has developed and is implementing its own technology of conducting these works by the use of special equipment. A special silting dredge, called Chudy Wojtek (Skinny Wojtek), in constant use, is used for this purpose, most often in the Gruba Kaśka region.

The project ‘Protecting the habitats of priority bird species of the Vistula Valley under conditions of intensive pressure of the Warsaw agglomeration’ (wislawarszawska.pl) has received a grant from the Financial Instrument for the Environment (LIFE+) and from the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management.